David Collingwood Bell writes:
On 21st October I am being interviewed as part of the online events programme intended to promote a wider recognition and understanding of HSF and I have agreed that the theme for me will be the connection between HSF and hypnotherapy. After all, hypnotherapy has been for many years my profession and, as an HSF trainer, all of my graduates so far are hypnotherapists or hypno-psychotherapists.
If it was not for Professor Heimler, I may not have followed the hypnotherapy route at all. It all started as a result of my attending a course on Human Social Functioning led by John Heimler back in the late 70s/early 80s on the recommendation of Geoff Myers, a leading HSF practitioner at that time. I had decided to switch from the world of education to that of therapy and it was John Heimler who encouraged me to think about the use of hypnosis in therapy. As I look back through my notes, scribbled at that time, there is much emphasis placed by Heimler on our having both a conscious and an unconscious mind together in the same individual. Through his teaching I learned the importance of using the unconscious in order to evoke and use the unique storehouse of inner resources beyond reach of the conscious mind in order to achieve therapeutic goals. He may not have formally been a hypnotherapist but he certainly introduced me to the notion that through hypnosis one could more easily enter the world of the unconscious and help a client to engage, for instance, with happenings in the past or speculate more easily upon the future. I recall some difficulty I was having in allowing my more rationally trained mind to use my imaginative side in connection with an exercise related to the Dialogue. John took me aside, told me that I was trying too hard, which was preventing the imagination to work, and proceeded to lead me into a relaxed state through the use of guided imagery into a special place. So my very first experience of the hypnotic trance, which allowed me in this instance to find the wise person, who knew all about me and with whom I was able to have a dialogue, was with Heimler. Of course, as we all know, one of the key features of the Heimler method is the use of imaginative techniques, which allow us to evolve different ways of feeling, thinking and creating a new phenomenal world around us.
So what particular techniques developed by Heimler can you identify that have their parallel in the practice of hypnotherapy?
In what ways does the ethos of HSF connect with how we relate to our clients? Those of you whom I have had the pleasure of training to become hypnotherapists will no doubt understand why it is that I incorporated the study and practice of HSF into your training as hypnotherapists. There is so much synergy between hypnotherapy and HSF, especially in relation to the Ericksonian approach.
What other key features of HSF fit well into the practice of hypnotherapy/
With what type of client and condition do you find the Scale particularly useful?
My answers to the questions posed above will form part of my ‘chat’ online on 21 October. I wonder how well your answers will match or perhaps extend mine.
One last thought, however, before ending this blog, in relation to working with the conscious and the unconscious mind and the synergy between the Heimler method and hypnotherapy. HSF places much attention on ACTION. Achieving good results with a client in a trance does not mean that the client will benefit from it in the ordinary waking state. There has to be an integration of unconscious learnings with conscious learning. Unless the client is able to go forth and DO something about it, he or she is likely to still have the problem. There always needs to be a dialogue, an integration, between the unconscious and conscious in order for therapy to be successful. Now that is both Heimlerian and Eriksonian!