Hypnosis and hypnotic techniques are strong tools for assisting clients in moving beyond their resistance to therapy.
How do therapists establish a directive in traditional psychotherapy? In the first section of Hypnotic Techniques, the authors explain how to set up a task for a client by the skillful use of hypnotic language, supported by 'seeding' the intended target ahead of time and buttressing it afterward with metaphor, story, or anecdote. Story construction, embedded suggestion, metaphor development, mindfulness-based group anger treatment, ego-strengthening, and combining direct and indirect techniques are among the many topics addressed that borrow from hypnosis and are widely applicable in standard psychotherapy. Therapists are encouraged to 'think hypnotically'—to look for junctures in therapeutic sessions where hypnotic techniques are applicable, to select the most appropriate technique, and to discern and understand the client's response to the applied technique. The aim is not to make clinicians into hypnotic therapists but to show all clinicians the efficacy of specific hypnotic techniques in the context of their current practice.
In the second half of Hypnotic Techniques, the authors address formal hypnosis in depth. Beginning with an examination of the limitations of evidence-based treatments for clinical problems such as anxiety and mood disorders, relational problems, and anger, as well as for medical problems, chronic pain, and habit control, Gafner and Benson propose a collection of alternate, hypnotic means. Many of these techniques can be used in isolation from standard evidence-based treatments, while others are designed to augment standard treatment. Weaving dozens of stories and therapeutic anecdotes into rich clinical vignettes, the authors demonstrate such techniques as 'short-burst' and metaphorical ego-strengthening, the uses of amnesia and other hypnotic phenomena, alternating stories, unconscious problem solving, and exposure-based and indirect hypnotic applications in treating posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Hypnosis and hypnotic techniques are strong tools for assisting clients in moving beyond their resistance to therapy. In the hurry-up world of managed care, Gafner and Benson find that hypnotic techniques are particularly valuable because they require a slower pace in initial sessions when creating connections to both the conscious and unconscious minds of clients. Somewhat paradoxically, by moving slower and establishing bonds to the conscious and unconscious, resistance is more effectively overcome and both therapist and client move ahead more steadily toward the therapeutic goal.