This “sandwich” should be served up to all hypnosis clients … and it’s even gluten free as you’re about to discover 🙂
No, it’s not something you eat. It’s a metaphorical sandwich that gives you a way to start and finish every client session. Read on …
How to structure a session is a key concern among hypnotists. Having trained therapists for years, one of the most frequent concerns I hear is from those who don’t know how to effectively structure a session with a client. Instead, they often find themselves waffling and fidgeting, hoping everything will somehow work out, and that the hurting person will leave the office feeling better.
You need a big picture plan. No matter how good a hypnotherapist, psychotherapist, EFT expert, NLP practitioner, or counsellor you happen to be, you need a big picture plan. Note that I’m not talking about a plan for the initial interview here, which is merely one component of the session. (If you’re a therapist and can’t rationally conduct an intake, preferring to fly by the seat of your pants, you’re in trouble!)
Let’s look at the bigger picture…
Inside a therapeutic or counselling session, there are certain recognizable steps that are essential to effective work with your client:
- You must welcome the client warmly, and immediately begin to build rapport, because in the absence of rapport, changes may not last.
- You need to get all requisite forms/medical referrals and intake information completed accurately, and early in the session.
- You have to listen carefully and remember to calibrate the client, both initially, and when discussing the “issue” so you can detect changes in his or her state.
- You must determine which aspect of the person’s problems you will focus on, in the session.
- Based on the above, you must choose or design an intervention, to address the issue and correct it.
- You will calibrate the subject again to ensure you’ve done adequate work, watching out for any loose ends.
- Only then will you release the client to the outside world again, with confident assurance that the change is installed and the problem has been adequately addressed.
Ok, so what’s with the darn sandwich metaphor?
I’m offering you a useful framework that you can put around the entire session, that will fulfil three important criteria:
- It must focus on the client’s desired outcome.
- It must result in a logical conclusion to the session that empowers the client.
- It must put the onus of continued change on the client (where it belongs).
This framework is easily achieved through two simple questions that bracket the therapy. These questions become the bread of the hypnotic sandwich.
One questions starts off the session while the second question concludes the session.
Without further delay, here they are …
Question #1: “What Do You Want?”
This cuts through a lot of fluff and misunderstanding right away. By focusing on what the person actually wants to have happen, it provides a clear target that can be elucidated through further questioning.
Watch out for this! Some clients specialize in what they don’t want. They’ll tell you things such as “I don’t want to be so unhappy!”
Here’s an insider tip: The list of what the client doesn’t want is infinite. He probably doesn’t want to be a plumber who works for free in the Antarctic. He doesn’t want to perform a root canal on himself. And he doesn’t want to set his socks on fire with a welding torch.
By focusing the client back on what he does want rather than what he doesn’t want, the outcome can be unpacked and broken into manageable chunks.
For instance, the client might want to “feel calmer at work”. This provides a positive outcome that can be explored and developed into an effective intervention, or series of sessions.
Note that this article isn’t about how to perform the change work with your client, but understand that the hypnotic session sandwich begins with a question to ensure you know what your client wants, in CLEAR and POSITIVE terms.
Question #2: “What’s Next?”
The second question is equally powerful. At the end of the session, when the change work has been done, it’s time to put the responsibility for continued progress back on the client, where it belongs.
Here’s where I ask the question:
As simple as it is, the client understands that the ball is in his court now, and he’ll have to decide what he’s going to do.
It can be a remarkably healing question. It gently but positively nudges the client to focus on his next steps following your successful change work.
Doing this prevents the subject from leaving the session and waiting for something to happen. It puts the locus of the change right on the subject himself: exactly where it belongs.
When this is done by a caring therapist it can make all the difference in the world!
Now it’s your turn. Start using the hypnotherapy sandwich with your clients. Notice how it improves the quality of the results your clients get!