I was having coffee with another therapist this week and this topic come up. We discussed how perhaps this reluctance is one of the factors contributing to why mental health issues are increasingly in the news.
Having pondered on it for a while I guess there are several factors; the main one being misconceptions –
‘Hypnotherapy. Errr … isn’t that where you relinquish control and end up clucking like a chicken and making a complete fool of yourself.’ This couldn’t be further from the truth! Hypnotherapy is simply a trance state; something we all experience every day. And it’s the job of the therapist to de-hypnotise you from your problem!
‘I’m scared to admit I have a problem; won’t it show I’m weak and vulnerable?’ This is an interesting one. We certainly live in a society that still has some stigma towards mental health, but this is getting much better – and it has certainly been helped by support from the Royals and major celebrities. Look at it this way; if your car breaks down, you find a mechanic to get it fixed? And if your tooth falls out you seek out a dentist to organise a repair. Your boiler breaks down in the middle of snow storm – you make an emergency call to the boiler repair man. So why is there so much stigma around seeking help with issues that are mind related? There is a great line in Cognitive Hypnotherapy – ‘A problem is only a problem if it’s a problem to you.’ It’s one of the first things you would find me saying to a prospective client – ‘If it’s a problem to you then let’s sort it!’
‘Will the therapy change my personality, wiping away my memories and changing me into a different person?’ Another one of the misconceptions people have. Yes, our memories are malleable, and can be changed; but again, that’s an everyday occurrence; we are constantly changing the way we see, and feel about things. All the therapy will do is help you see your problem from a different perspective, possibly reframe it, and ultimately help you feel differently about it – or make it no longer a problem.
‘Ah, but does this ‘therapy stuff’ really work? Do you give any guarantee, and how will I know it’s worked?’ We cannot give guarantees – even though we are lead to believe that we live in a black and white world, in a world driven by technology, where we can simply flick a switch and the problem is either ‘on’ or ‘off’. I’m sorry to bring you back to reality, but that world really doesn’t exist. Not all therapy works on everyone, but SOME THERAPY WILL WORK FOR YOU! The success in therapy is very much down to –
1) the rapport between therapist and client
2) how much the client really wants the change
3) the skill of the therapist to use the right techniques at the right time to enable change at the right pace for you!
So, to conclude: why do some people find it hard to see a therapist, and how can we change that? I believe that one day, going to see a therapist will be just the same as going to the dentist, to the doctor’s, or to get a tyre fitted. To do this we need to accept that if a problem is a problem, then go find a solution. Hypnotherapy is really nothing like you have seen on TV, where people walk about in trance state every day. Nothing in therapy will change your personality, or stop you from being you. It will simply help you to become a better you, the genuine you.
In the words of my teacher and mentor, Trevor Silvester, ‘Therapy is really nothing more than having a conversation, where the outcome of that conversation is the change you have been looking for!’