Are You Letting Forums Clip Your Wings?

It's a great time to be alive, well at least in terms of technology. I now have more technology and information in my trousers than I had throughout the 80's!! The 80's was also a great time to be alive, we had 4 whole channels to choose from, CD's and shell suits!!

What we didn't have was a raft of information at our fingertips. Instead you had to rely on either your parents having an answer or hoping that someone hadn't ripped the relevant section out of the book in the library. It was even more difficult if you had an interest in something that wasn't the norm particularly something as obscure as hypnosis. My first experience of hypnosis was sending off for a book in the back of the Loot. I still remember it arriving the book itself was very primitive and looked like it had been hand-written.

Jump forward to 2018 and if I want to know about hypnosis I simply type hypnosis into Google (other search engines are available). There's a whole host of information at my fingertips and now I don't even need a computer, I can search for exactly the same material on my smart phone. There's also an abundance of videos teaching hypnosis on YouTube (Other video streaming websites are available).

However, with this wealth of information there is also a lot of mis-information. To quote Abraham Lincoln - The internet is fast becoming a cesspool of false information. See what I did there? There are now tonnes of forums on various social media platforms including Twitter, Facebook and Reddit where the new hypnotist/ hypnotherapist can ask questions and draw upon a wealth of experience and knowledge.

Having said that, there's also a lot of rubbish to trawl through which can make it difficult for a newbie to navigate and work out the wheat from the chaff. There are many ideas and arguments around the subject of hypnosis, whether it's a state, whether there are different levels and even whether hypnosis even exists.

Assuming you've had training with a reputable provider you should be well equipped to tackle most things you see/ hear within the therapy room, in the street or on the stage. Having said that, there will always be the odd case or query that you may need further guidance on. You may be tempted to ask away on a forum however, buyer beware not only may you be bombarded with a load of information you may also be subject to a number of accusations of not being a very good therapist or 'damaging the profession.'

One of the other things I see on forums is other therapists, batting down other therapist's queries or questions. When I was in school there was a saying that the only stupid question is the one that isn't asked. So you have a client that you're finding particularly challenging for one reason or another and you'd like some further advice, what should you do.

Rather than posting in a forum I believe you're far better off either privately messaging someone who's opinion you truly value perhaps someone who is more experienced in the field than you are and asking them for their opinion on it. I've personally done this and have found that everyone I've contacted has been supportive and has offered some great advice drawing on their own experiences to better assist me.

Another option is to continue with ongoing mentoring after you've qualified and as it happens, I still have a mentor 2 years on. Not that I feel a need to have a mentoring session all the time, it's comforting to know that I can either run it past my mentor at our next meeting or that I can pick up the phone and draw from his knowledge base. A cost effective way would be to set up a peer group with either the people you've passed the course with or other like-minded individuals.

I get that it must be frustrating to be in a supposedly 'professional' forum within Facebook to see someone asking a question that to some readers may seem obvious and a real bug bear of mine is people asking for scripts to deal with a certain ailment especially considering these can be obtained from many different sources across the internet. However, a new therapist may wish to view scripts so that they can hone their skills or learn new language patterns.

Then there are those who suggest that you're a terrible therapist or that you should be doing it this way, or that you shouldn't be using that protocol. This can be damaging to a new therapist and I'm not sure whether it comes from a place of protection of the standards of the industry or self protection. If you're using a technique or you have your sessions set a certain way and it works most of the time for most of the people then continue doing it. If you use regression to cause and you see results in your clients then continue using it. If you use parts therapy and your clients see changes from it continue to do it

We're all in the same boat in terms that we want to illicit positive change within those who we work with and there will be a difference of opinions as to how that is achieved, if it works for you then continue to use it. Of course continue to learn and develop your own skills and techniques however, don't be inclined to stop using a particular skill because someone in a forum has told you it's rubbish.

In closing, If you're new to this or very well advanced in your field, listen to those around you and ultimately do what works for you.

Jason Simmons is a Hypnotist and Hypnotherapist and is the author of the forthcoming book: The Street Hypnosis Hand Book.

Jason has been performing for almost a decade and has worked alongside the likes of Tim Vine, Arthur Smith & Bob Mills.