The eyes feel heavy…

Last week, as part of my internship training, I attended a three day intensive course on clinical hypnosis at Boston Behavioral Medicine, a private practice in Brookline, MA.  This was the second hypnosis training we’ve had this year.  The first of these, in September, focused on the basics of clinical hypnosis: how to bring someone into a trance, how to deepen the state, and how to do some basic relaxation exercises.  This time around, we went into some more depth.

This training course focused on the clinical applications of hypnosis.  Specifically, we discussed how to use hypnosis for habit breaking, pain relief, and “ego strengthening.”  Although I think that all three of these areas have clinical utility, I’m probably most interested in using hypnosis for habit breaking.  So many of my patients have trouble quitting smoking, using drugs/alcohol, or stopping other compulsive behaviors (such as nailbiting).  If I could use hypnosis to help these patients stop their problematic behaviors, it would be hugely helpful.

Essentially, what hypnosis does is to create an imaginary experience that is felt vividly by the patient.  I would describe the state of mind as akin to a dream, or a very deep daydream.  To break a habit, one must create an imaginary experience of deconditioning the habit.  This involves vividly describing a scene in which the problematic behavior leads to some negative consequences, and describing these consequences in great detail.  With time, and with repetition, hypnosis can help a patient break the target habit.

I’ve done some hypnosis with a patient of mine, but we’ve only focused on creating a state of relaxation; we haven’t tried to do anything more targeted.  However, now that I’ve had some more training, I’d like to try some hypnosis for habit breaking, so I’ll likely start doing so (or trying to, anyway), within the next few weeks.  I’ll post about it and let you all know how it goes :)

About sskeenmspp

Hey everyone, my name is Sam Skeen. I’m currently a third year PsyD student. I’m primarily interested in individual therapy with adults and adolescents and assessment with people of all ages. This year, I’m doing my field placement work at Joseph M. Smith Community Health Center, where I am learning to conduct therapy in Spanish. I also have a part time job at MSPP’s Academic Resource Center, where I help other MSPP students complete challenging academic tasks. In my spare time, I like to exercise, cook, mess with my cat (an activity that once screened me as a potential sociopath on a personality test), update my fantasy hockey lineup obsessively, and of course, satiate my Words with Friends addiction.
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3 Responses to The eyes feel heavy…

  1. Heath says:

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    again to read more news.

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  3. Was browsing around for hypnosis information, which is a huge interest of mine. I started out learning conversational hypnosis and later did hypnotherapy training. Interesting how you can create a state of relaxation just by guiding their visual, auditory, kinaesthetic impressions. Here we go: As you feel your feet resting against the floor, and sense your back resting against the chair..while listening to my voice, you can relax. And notice how the sensation of your hand resting against your leg and the fabric touching your skin, I wonder how much deeper you can relax and you hear the sounds around you and see the light flicker in the ceiling…just like your eyelids… you know you don’t need so close them any sooner than you can relax now..that’s it. All the way… Deepener to follow. Or you could just do an instant induction and ask them to imagine the issue as a symbol their mind shows them. And then ask them how that makes them feel. How they want to feel. Ask the them to change the symbol until they have a satisfying emotion of having solved that issue.

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