Mindfulness and Hypnosis

my response to query on a recent online list for professionals:

MM, I’ve run psychotherapy groups for 4 decades, learning only after about a decade what I was doing was so un-knowingly enhanced by direct & indirect hypnotic suggestion.
Studying hypnosis intensively since then has greatly strengthened positive outcomes & folks’ ability to continue meditating/trancing, & managing themselves & their relationships more skillfully after graduating from Group.
Average length of stay is about 18 months, tho many people have absorbed enough after a year, a few after 9 months. The habit of altering consciousness is well established initially in the 8 week/2 1/2 hour format MBSR courses [I just did one w/ Jeff Brantley, MD @ Duke Integrated Health in Durham-excellent !] with an All Day Retreat, when folks do the extensive daily formal & informal meditation practices suggested. After the initial course, Duke offers many free & paid opportunities to continue practicing w/ a leader.
I’ve not seen the statistics, and I’d guess that continuing weekly, monthly or regular intermittent group practice sessions is necessary for most people to maintain this healthful practice. Whether you call it “meditation” or “hypnosis” doesn’t matter, tho M. has a good connotation which hypnosis has lost over the millennia , individual practice is quite different from guided practice.
I strongly recommend Michael Yapko’s last of 12 books, Hypnosis & Mindfulness, for a thoughtful in-depth look at the science behind both paths to healing. Although altering one’s consciousness is self-determined, i.e. solo meditation or self-hypnosis, how that happens & what can develop from the experience is greatly influenced by an external guide & the emotional relationship with that guide.
It seems to me one continuing challenge to our work is how to get folks to maintain their practice and use of the skills of mindfulness/hypnosis when no longer actively practicing what they’ve learned in therapy/mindfulness/hypnosis. I understand that there are no long term follow-up studies of daily practitioners of self-hypnosis, and leaders in the field suspect that the changes in fMRI, etc would likely be similar to those found in long term meditators. Bridging the gap, without prejudice, separating the underlieing functional similarities of Hypnosis and Mindfulness would be a wonderfully useful accomplishment for the general public — for some strange reason, people are much more likely to practice meditation like their image of the Dahli Lama than be like their imaginings of “hypnosis” in the old black & white-movie villains Svengali or Dracula. DrBobDick.com

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