Greetings from Costa Rica! This is Tatiana, Alexandra, and Jessica reporting in on Week 3 of our immersion. This week during our clinical session, Dr. Paula Llobert instructed us in the art of hypnosis and guided imagery. I (Tatiana) have never been a fan of hypnosis, but that could have been due to my lack of knowledge about it. When individuals think of the word hypnosis, more than often an image of a doctor waving a watch on a string in front of a half-sleeping patient comes to mind. Many of us have also been to hypnotist shows in which a panel of individuals are hypnotized and then told to do ridiculous things at the sound of a bell. What many individuals do not know are the skills required to deepen a patient into a state of trance in which they feel more in-tune with themselves.
The tone of voice must be soothing and relaxing. Some confuse "soothing and relaxing" with "slow", but Dr. Llobert stated that if you use a lot of pauses, you will lose your client. Using both direct and indirect suggestions the clinician should direct the client to focus mainly on their breathing. Using phrases such as, "Perhaps you might notice..." eases the client into a more comfortable state of tranquility instead of stating how they should feel at that moment because every individual is different and experiences hypnosis differently. Giving options to the client allows them to believe in the hypnosis rather than sitting their worrying about whether what they are doing is right or not. Some example include, "Listen to my voice or focus on other things and just realize that my voice will be in the background..." or "Notice how your legs are getting heavier, or perhaps lighter?" You can even try asking questions such as, "Is there an image coming to your mind right now?", instead of forcing an image into their mind. Dr. Llobert also taught us how to develop a "yes" set. By using truisms and facts that a client ultimately responds "yes" to in agreement, it helps build rapport and helps the client and patient become in sync. In aiming for a "yes" response, she suggested using 2-3 truisms and then a suggestion. This greatly increases the chances of the client agreeing to the suggestion. Dr. Llobert recommended reading up on Dr. Michael Yapko, whom is famous for truisms for those who are interested. During hypnosis, clients may become distracted by their own thoughts, ideas or noises. Instead of letting those things interrupt the hypnosis, Dr. Llobert suggested including them in the session. For example, if the clients phone goes off suggest something like, "Notice how the phone is ringing. Don't worry; they will leave a voicemail..." Don't ignore the noise because more than likely the client will be thinking about it and will lose their focus within the session.
In the last hour of supervision Dr. Llobert asked who among our group has had any experience with hypnosis or guided imagery. Much to my surprise only about five of us out of 18 had ever done guided imagery, and primarily with children and not adults. We spent the remainder of the class leading our fellow peers in guided meditations and I am hoping that everyone came out of that experience with a better understanding about hypnosis and the benefits that it could produce in dealing with many different populations.
This weekend many of us travelled to Manuel Antonio where I am happy to report we had the first weekend that it did not rain! It was beautiful and I highly recommend it to anyone, particularly the Telumar Villas. We had monkeys hanging out on our balconies and had the most incredible views of the ocean. It was truly a perfect way to spend our last weekend in Costa Rica!