nlp mistakes to avoid

Do You Make These Same Mistakes With NLP & Hypnosis?: Part III

Do You Make These Same Mistakes With NLP & Hypnosis?: Part III

In this post we cover the top 5 mistakes NLP Practitioners and Hypnotherapists make. In the highly controversial Part I of Do You Make These Same Mistakes With NLP & Hypnosis?, we covered mistakes 14-10. Here are #s 9-6 from Part II.

#5: Not being outcome focused

I see hypnotherapists and NLP practitioners who don’t know what they’re after and more importantly, what the client is after in a session. If you don’t know where you’re going, it’s hard to know when you get there. Right out of the gate, you should define what success will be for your sessions. The NLP Well Formedness Conditions are a wonderful way to do this. Usually, when getting the goal well-formed, you not only find out what resources the client needs in order to solve their own problem, but you may find out what’s been stopping them as well.

#4: Lack of flexibility

Clients respond differently. People are individuals. Situations are unique. One client’s reason for smoking is not another client’s reason. One client’s motivation to exercise is different than another. Some clients are afraid of hypnosis–some love it. Some don’t want to be touched. Some respond better to indirect suggestion–others to direct. You get the idea. If you are a one-trick pony as a hypnotherapist, or if you have to do a process by the book, you’ll have limited success with real people. Learn lots of approaches and learn techniques that have flexibility built in.

#3: Not understanding when someone is hypnotized.

It used to be a common statement amongst some hypnotists not trained in NLP, that NLP was only good for short term fixes. “It will only last 6 months,” they’d say. “NLP is done in a light trance, so it won’t work long-term.” One day, when I was walking someone through a time-line technique, it struck me. “Hey. This guy is regressing, feeling strong emotions as a result of his regression, plus he’s hallucinating the scene from the past right here on the floor.” In short, he was exhibiting several hypnotic phenomenon that might be considered ‘deep.’ The thing was, these deep phenomena weren’t performed in the usual format. The client is walking, talking and there hasn’t been any talk of relaxation and eyes closing. It seemed to me that some old-time hypnotists had a limiting viewpoint of what hypnosis was. If it didn’t look like traditional hypnosis to them, they didn’t recognize it. well, if you don’t recognize it, it’s more difficult to use it. When you broaden your understanding of what hypnosis is, you can use it more effectively.

#2: Lack of ability to make distinctions

Many times when a client has a pattern that’s not working for them, we can help them by teaching them to make better distinctions–especially at the unconscious level. A few examples; a client that has a fear of heights can often be helped by getting better at making distinctions about what heights are safe and what situation involving heights are dangerous. A client who has been hurt in a past relationship and fears all potential relationships can often find it useful to make distinctions between those potential relationships that are similar in pattern to old mistakes and those that are not. Well, in order to help our clients make these distinctions, it’s helpful for us to be able to perceive them (or create them) too! And there are many more cases where distinctions are useful. Not only do we need an organized system for understanding and keeping track of distinctions, we need the sensory acuity and thought processes that allow us to perceive distinctions, in the first place.

#1: Drinking the Kool-Aid

I’m wrong, you’re wrong, science is wrong and your teachers were wrong. Remember that. Whatever our understanding of any field, it’s only an approximation–a model–a map. Where the models fall short or leave out information, we are lacking. Think about a map for a moment. In order for a map to contain all of the information about a place, it would need to bethat place! Your regular old map, for instance, leaves out buildings. Even if you have a picture of a place, that was then. It’s different now. Again, in order to contain all the information about a place, a map would have to be that place. Well, we operate in the world using our internal models of the way the world works. We operate as hypnotists and NLPers using our model of how the mind works. Well, these models are not complete nor are they completely accurate. Neither were our teacher’s maps. If we swallow what they say whole-hog, we ‘drink the Kool-Aid.’ Where those models are inaccurate, we don’t do as well. So, what do you do? You question. You think. You refine. Truth is, in the short term, you might be better off drinking the Kool-Aid. If you just take what your NLP instructor told you as the gospel truth, you might do better. The reason? Because you’re more congruent if you’re a true believer. Your clients sense your belief. Maybe it’s best in some ways to be a believer while in session. You also might consider questioning what you’ve been taught. I find it useful to study what we know about how the brain is fooled and look at our own beliefs in terms of how we formed them. It’s both scary and freeing to know that are beliefs are so transitory and fluid.

What I Hope

I hope this list of my viewpoint of the top 14 mistakes NLPers and hypnotherapists make has got you to thinking! I hope it makes all of us better at what we do. Ciao for now, Keith

About The Author:

Keith Livingston is the main instructor for Hypnosis 101. Keith has been studying hypnosis since he was a boy and doing hypnosis & NLP training since 1997.

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  1. Great article. There are a lot of folks out there who are simply not focused on outcomes. Not only with hypnosis, but with their lives in general. You have to know exactly where you want to go in order to get there.

  2. I agree with all of these, of course, but I gotta say, struggling with knowing whether “this is hypnosis” was a biggy for me for the first few years. I was getting good results, but OFTEN didn’t see what I thought I was supposed to, in order to call it ‘hypnosis’ by that older definition. Finally, I decided it didn’t matter if someone else could call what just happened hypnosis – if it got my client what they wanted, I didn’t care WHAT they called it.

  3. Thought-provoking article – just what I needed! This is the first time I’ve replied, but I want to say a big THANK YOU, Keith, for your generous sharing of your expertise.

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