Business Solutions Through Hypnosis
Neuro-Linguistic Programming is the study of human excellence, specifically how that excellence is achieved. One of its premises is that all experience, with particular attention to human excellence, has a structure which can be discovered and then called upon by an individual whenever it is desirable to do so.
Relaxation and Arousal
The most pervasive hypnotic technique, Relaxation, underlies most, if not all other, interventions. It is usually achieved at first in either a supine or sitting position, though it is possible to learn to relax standing up or moving.
While there are a number of relaxation processes, one that is often used involves regulating breathing and also tightening and then loosening individual muscle groups one after the other from the top of the head to the toes. The vivid sense of the release of tension is hypnotic in itself. Sometimes, the leader, manager or team member is invited to say a relaxing word with each exhalation. Learning to put oneself in a state of hypnotic relaxation before a major presentation is obviously useful. And relaxation may also be used to decrease stress and anxiety coming from any other occasions of business pressure.
However, too much relaxation can make a leader (or team) feel flaccid. So the relaxation response in certain situations needs to be balanced by hypnotic Arousal. This may be achieved by having the leader during hypnosis image himself or herself experiencing just the right amount of arousal or "juice" while doing a particular task. This imaging is hypnotically paired with a key word or self touch that will trigger the arousal response/imagery when needed during the accomplishment of the task. Often, the individual will be asked to practice in and out of hypnosis moving back and forth between triggering arousal and triggering relaxation responses to ensure that the right amount of energy will be available when needed. Scroll to Top...
Manipulation of Ones Sense of Time
At times, every leader, manager or team finds that the time allotted for a task or decision is insufficient. In contrast, every leader, manager or team experiences too much time for a task or business situation (e.g., Board meetings, routine team meetings), especially when such is boring, conflictual or otherwise difficult. Through hypnosis, the individual (or team) can program himself when the need arises, to experience Time Expansion or Time Contraction.
In the former, the person (or team) feels time’s “slowing down” to allow more thinking or more effective doing. This can be especially important to a presenter who has trouble coming up with answers to questions from the audience or to a salesperson who must develop in the next moment a new strategy with a prospective buyer. In contrast, when time is hypnotically contracted, the individual (or team) experiences time’s “speeding up” so that the situation seems to shrink in duration. Feeling time’s speeding up can be very useful when an individual has to listen to many reports from colleagues that are irrelevant to his or her own work.
Moreover, in any hypnosis session, no matter what the intervention, the individual (or team) will experience one kind or another of time distortion: the session will either feel much longer or much shorter than it actually is. This is usually considered a “convincer” to the conscious mind that the person has indeed been in a productive hypnotic trance. Scroll to Top...
Useful “Forgetting,” Negative “Illusion,” & Dissociation
Sometimes, after engaging in a “lessons-learned” evaluation following a poor business performance, a leader (or team) may want to forget the actual details of the event to prevent such memories from getting in the way of the next venture. Inducing Forgetting in the Leader for such details may be the intervention of choice.
At other times, the leader (or team) may find that some physical manifestation, such as a hard copy of a negative email or the scowl on the face of a “higher up,” triggers a memory of the negative event. In such a case, creating a Negative Illusion of the trigger (make it not be there) may be useful, as long as this intervention is consistent with the leader’s responsibilities. Also, using hypnotic Negative Illusion to block out extraneous, distracting physical details or aspects of the environment in order to focus on something particular is always useful in a work or presentation context. Negative illusions can be created for any sensory input that is distracting for a specified context and/or time.
Similarly, Dissociation can help the leader or the team deal with inner conflict or conflicting pressures. Unlike Negative Illusion which makes something sensory (physical) seem to “disappear,” Dissociation helps the participant disentangle and put aside whatever conflicts with his or her present focus, such as personal concerns or dissension having nothing to do with the business situation. Scroll to Top...
Hypermnesia and Positive “Illusion”
In contrast to the previous interventions, there are others that help the leader, manager or team remember concretely and vividly aspects of past situations. Such considered attention to detail is called Hypermnesia. Being able to concentrate on details of aspects of past work can help someone who, for instance, has trouble recalling important business conversations or events, the remembrance of which might be crucial to a present or future task. A salesperson might thereby enhance his or her ability to recall a customer’s idiosyncratic needs and demands.
A related intervention is the inducing of a Positive Illusion. A leader or team, faced with a tough decision, uncertain environment, or other stressful business encounter, can learn through hypnosis to summon forth the encouraging words of a friend, colleague or boss, neither of whom is actually present. Similarly, a leader or team may create through hypnosis a positive illusion of a better environment in which to work or a positive illusion of a business competitor who is thereby less intimidating than usual, thus allowing the individual or group to believe in his, her or its ability to challenge the competitor effectively. Scroll to Top...
While Goal-Setting is certainly possible without hypnosis, it is much more effective and powerful when accomplished in a hypnotic trance because the subconscious knows far more than the conscious mind about the individual’s thoughts, feelings, behaviors, fears, and mental and physical resources.
In the assessment for goal-setting, the Business Hypnotist and participant will investigate whether any proposed goals are truly in alignment with the participant’s stated agenda. If they are not, further discussion and analysis may be necessary. If they are, the process of hypnotic goal-setting can begin. When in hypnosis, the participant (individual or group) discovers, with the help of the subconscious, goals that are specific, concrete, realizable and measurable. The subconscious is also asked to brainstorm internal and external resources to promote attainment of the goals. In addition, the subconscious participates, if necessary, in breaking the final goals into sub-goals with available resources and deadlines. Also useful here is Hypnotic work on finding triggers to use in the waking world for appropriate arousal to pursue the goals. Scroll to Top...
Age Regression & Age Progression
One of the most powerful of interventions for business success is Age Regression, going back while in hypnosis to a previous time of importance. This may be to a time when the leader or team felt most in charge and excited about a task they were doing, an undertaking similar to the one before them in the present moment. Doing so may allow the individual or team to bring that energy forward to the present task, increase morale, and possibly figure out from past success what is not going well in the present and how to fix it.
Age Regression is particularly powerful when an individual or team is in a slump and seemingly unable to experience themselves as competent and confident. In hypnosis, they would be invited to look in their history for “exceptions” to their current view of themselves and so see that they are in fact capable of increased productivity. Even if they cannot find in their work history such exceptions to their present malaise, in hypnosis, each person can look for exceptions in comparable, non-work areas of her or his life and thus can bridge that remembered competency to the work at hand.
Age Regression may be used also when a leader or team is suffering from a sense of failure for an uncompleted or seemingly useless or otherwise mismanaged project from the past. In such a case, age regression may allow the individual(s) to go back to image the correct path or other intervention and so bring the old task to a different outcome through imaginative restructuring. This process likewise can increase morale and allow “rehearsal” of the more appropriate way to accomplish a similar goal in the present and future.
Age Progression, looking ahead to the future while in hypnosis, allows an individual or team to imagine in great detail how a presentation, business meeting, product design collaboration, etc. will actually take place with an optimum outcome.
Variations of this intervention may include seeing oneself or members of a team actually accomplishing the future task as though it were being done in the present moment, experiencing a period in the future after the task has been successfully achieved when everyone is celebrating and commenting on the victory, and “looking back from the future” to see what concrete steps had been taken to achieve a satisfactory result.
Still another use of Age Progression is strategic-planning or scenario planning. One way of doing this is to have the planning team go into hypnosis and experience and experiment with at least three different future scenarios. For instance, one scenario might be the worst-case, based on known company weaknesses’ getting worse and the usual environmental threats’ developing exponentially. Another scenario would be looking at what would happen if the internal and external environments remained the same. Still another scenario might be based on imaging the outcome if all factors were extremely positive. Other kinds of scenarios could also be chosen.
The Business Hypnotist would invite participants to image these scenarios one year, five years, and ten years in the future. At the end of the hypnotic session, everyone would write notes about his or her experience and then engage in comparing those notes to gain the widest possible understanding of the pros and cons--the unseen potentials and the risks and blocks in any one scenario. Doing strategic planning while in hypnosis is a much more creative endeavor than doing it in ordinary consciousness. Moreover, the problem-solving abilities of group members are enhanced by the bypassing of the overly critical mind. Scroll to Top...
Rehearsal, Day-Dreaming, and Hypno-Dreaming
Similar to Age Progression, Day-Dreaming and Rehearsal help the leader or team to image a new business behavior or imagine a new product. These interventions are different from Age Progression in that they are either not tied to a specific task or not focused on an exact future. In each of these interventions, the participant is fully relaxed into a hypnotic state and guided to a calm and perhaps inspiring inner place. With Rehearsal, for instance, a salesperson might image going over and over his or her presentation to prospective customers who are not yet known and thus perfect his or her pitch. Often, the trial run is imaged first in slow motion so all the details are memorized; after such a sequence, the process is speeded up more and more until it is run at “normal” tempo.
In advanced Rehearsal, the same salesperson might do “trial runs” with alternate choices of language, tempo, organization of points, etc. that respond to differences in the selling environment. Doing this in a hypnotic trance also allows the individual (or team) to make changes and experiment without real-world consequences.
Day-Dreaming may include Rehearsal, but the former intervention is more free-floating, a kind of brainstorming of ideas that is especially powerful when done with team members in a hypnotic state. It might include, for instance, imaging prospective customers’ telling team members what innovations they want. In thus rousing their creativity, participants surface many otherwise unseen potentials, as well as enhance their ability to respond creatively in the moment.
In both Day-Dreaming and Rehearsal, hitherto unseen risks may also arise from the subconscious, which has a much wider purview than does ordinary consciousness. Whatever risks emerge can then be dealt with through other interventions.
With Hypno-Dreaming, an even greater positive outcome is likely because the individual or team members go into a deeper hypnotic state. After bringing the participants to a calm inner place, the Business Hypnotist invites them to image themselves “lying down” in that space, going to “sleep,” and dreaming in that “sleep” state about innovations in products or ways to enhance performances, etc. Subsequent to coming out of hypnosis, team members can compare what emerged for each of them and then possibly go back into hypnosis for further brainstorming. Scroll to Top...
Imaging an Expert and Bolstering of Inner Resources
Sometimes it is helpful while in hypnosis for a leader, manager or team to engage in Imaging an Expert, someone quite adept in whatever the leader wants to accomplish. This expert is imaged “doing his or her thing” in substantial detail, sometimes in slow motion so that every aspect of the doing” is noticed and remembered. Then the participant images himself or herself merging with the expert, taking on the expert’s skill and/or presence and then doing the task effortlessly, first in slow motion and then with increasing speed and flair. This process may be especially helpful, for instance, after a leader has attended a leadership training and wants practice in emulating what she or he saw demonstrated by the presenters.
At other times, the participant wants to use his or her own Inner Expert. This can be achieved by having the hypnotized leader, manager or team member image an Accomplished Self, derived from the person’s super-conscious mind, who comes to give detailed guidance and support.
Another way to develop the participant’s inner strength and expertise is hypnotic Bolstering of Inner Resources. After an assessment is done of the participant’s strengths in areas of his or her life that may or may not be directly associated with the task at hand, the Business Hypnotist gives the hypnotized participant a host of positive suggestions and affirmations about how she is able to harness those strengths in the new work task. Still other affirmations may be developed from further information about the individual and suggested to him or her during hypnosis by the Business Hypnotist. In so doing, the Business Hypnotist becomes a positive-psychology coach! Scroll to Top...
Hypnotic Storytelling, Metaphors & Symbols
Another powerful intervention for achieving ego-strengthening is the use in hypnosis of Storytelling, Metaphors and Symbols. Over the last 5-10 years, Storytelling has become a significant way to enhance team-building, promote diversity, develop leaders and managers, convey corporate culture, show how things are done, develop pride in work, etc. While stories are hypnotic themselves in that they produce altered awareness, when they are used while the listener is in a hypnotic trance, the effect is magnified many times over.
At times, the hypnotized participant may be asked to review his or her “old story,” a once useful but now dysfunctional narrative full of erroneous or corrupted beliefs. Then the hypnotized individual or team might be asked to create or co-create and rehearse a “new story” that promotes new values and functional perspectives.
Using Metaphors (talking about one thing in terms of another) is another, more indirect way to convey an important perspective or value or skill. The indirection may distract or confuse the conscious mind that is slow to make connections between dissimilar things; but such metaphoric indirection is the language of the subconscious, which is quite capable of making many connections among a variety of perspectives, etc. And it is the subconscious that we need to reach to make changes in our patterns of operating in the workplace.
Thus a leader who has trouble letting go of a useless idea may be told about the way hunters catch monkeys in one African country: the hunters put a bunch of bananas in a cage with bars spaced just far enough from each other to allow a monkey’s hand to pass through. If the monkey reaches in and grabs a banana, his full hand cannot then pass back through the bars. Only if he lets go of the banana can he get free.
Symbols may also be used in the hypnotic trance to focus and inspire leaders, managers and teams. The symbol may arise during hypnosis or from another source; in any case, the Business Hypnotist helps the participant to magnify the presence of the symbol in the mind of the participant. The Business Hypnotist also helps her or him find a “trigger” in the internal or external environment that will bring up the symbol from the subconscious when the individual needs it as a resource. For instance, a Leader may learn in hypnosis to use a feeling of anxiety in his stomach or the sight of a certain, unpleasant colleague to trigger the emergence in the Leader’s mind of an award designating one of his major achievements. Scroll to Top...
Interrupting and Changing Perspectives
Leaders, managers and teams often get stuck because they cannot change their perspectives and therefore cannot do something different. Many of the interventions listed in the Business Hypnosis section can deal with this issue in various ways. But an overly hard-wired business perspective or work process may be directly addressed by inviting the participant in hypnosis to “think the unthinkable” about such a perspective or to image doing something different at various points in an otherwise rigid process to see what will develop. At the group level, this kind of intervention could prevent “Groupthink,” a dangerously repressive phenomenon in teams. Scroll to Top...
Another possibility is to ask the hypnotized participant to take and even speak from the perspective of another person or persons about a particular work issue. The hypnotic trance allows the individual to do this more easily and with greater depth. The other perspectives may include those of colleagues, bosses, direct reports, regulators, suppliers, other units in the company, etc. By promoting a variety of perspectives on an issue, this intervention may enhance the individual’s empathy for others and decrease conflict. Scroll to Top...
Post-hypnotic Suggestions and Self-Hypnosis
Post-Hypnotic Suggestions (PHS) are a part of most if not all hypnotic sessions, no matter what the other interventions may be or what issue is being addressed. These suggestions are geared to insuring “follow-through” with the work just done in the hypnotic session. Often, PHS is used to ensure that specific, concrete action will be taken on the new perspectives gained by the participant during the hypnotic trance. PHS may be developed by the Business Hypnotist from information gleaned during the intake session and from insights gained from observing the participant in hypnosis. At times, the Business Hypnotist may directly ask the person in hypnosis what it will take to maintain her new ideas, perspectives and behaviors after the session or how she will know the entire process has been completed. With the participant’s answers, the Business Hypnotist can create very effective PHS.
One of the other, most frequent uses of PHS is to suggest to the participant that he or she (or they) will more easily and quickly go into the proper stage of hypnosis during the next session and will practice Self-Hypnosis on a reasonably frequent basis. Doing Self-Hypnosis not only helps the participant follow through on goals, but also makes the leader’s or team member’s next hypnotic experience deeper and more powerful. Moreover, engaging in Self-Hypnosis fosters independence in the participant, empowering him or her to take charge of his or her own change. Self-Hypnosis may take a number of forms, including playing daily a CD recorded by the Business Hypnotist with suggestions especially designed for the participant. Or the leader, manager or team may learn how to induce in himself or herself or themselves a hypnotic state in which there is a review of what was learned in the formal hypnosis session. Scroll to Top...
"The world is not an unsolved puzzle, waiting for the occasional genius to unlock its secrets. The world is, or most of it is, an empty space waiting to be filled."
- Charles Handy
"The only way to find the limits of the possible is by going beyond them to the impossible."
- Arthur C. Clarke
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