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Saturday, 27 November 2010

Picture this

Previously on "The Knife You See":

As a result of having Ulcerative Colitis for 13 years, and despite medications a plenty, I faced the prospect of surgery almost exactly a year ago. In order to deal with this psychologically and to get some sense of control and calm I went to see a Hypnotherapist.

I found it so useful, that I decided to pass it on by learning to be a hypnotherapist myself. . .

I wonder if you can imagine the scenario, we are in one of those rather corporate rooms in the depths of a hotel. (Should that be an hotel?). The yellow-brown carpet with little crawly patterns made of small crosses in black stretch across the floor, the wood and chrome armed chairs with a purple seat and back, the whiteboard, the arc of chairs.

Perhaps, you can you see it?

Can you hear the air conditioning? The distant but constant traffic?  The clink of iced water in the glasses? The soft scribbling noise of biro on pad? Can you hear all that?

On the whiteboard the letters “IBS” are scrawled in black sitting like the dead body of a spider in the middle of a mind map.

We’ve been talking shit for a while now, running through the symptoms, the possible causes, diet, exercise, self esteem, confidence . .

. . .     U.C. is NOT IBS

I have subdued the impulse to spill my guts. Mention has not been made of Ulcerative Colitis but there’s been one mention of it’s evil twin Crohn’s disease. I have resisted the impulse to yak on about the difference between IBS (Syndrome) and IBD (Disease). Now we have been put into small groups to practice a new script.

This one is what’s called a guided imagery script. The Hypnotherapist takes you on an imaginary journey, and the things within that journey are actually encoded ideas that will influence the unconscious mind.  And that in turn can influence the conscious mind and the body.

Oh! I have just noticed that UnConscious mind and UC might have something in common. . . . I have thought for a long time that the gut might be the seat of a primal and brooding intelligence.

Anyway,  the script is good, I’m enjoying it and I’m getting waves of comfort and familiarity . . . . Yes familiarity is the word, the metaphor of a river, the idea of a steady constant balanced flow. That's the embedded idea.

Imagine the scene: Beautiful trees, a stream going through some woods, the stream clear and clean and sparkling. You and nature are in harmony. You take on the qualities of the stream. It’s good and it calms you down.

I’ve heard something similar before. A year ago. Hearing echoes of an old song reiterated in a new song. I like it. It comforts me.

But there's a beef for me. The thing is,  with U.C. it is really good to be calm and all that, but I'm not sure that it's going to sort out your "flow".

It'll help your head, but I think your gut will still have it's own particular problem. That's why it's an IBD not an IBS.

Curious to experience a thing from the other side. In my training so far I have had quite a few instances where I remember the conversations or hypnotic techniques of my Hypnotherapist.

Personally, I found this type of metaphor very useful. Even if it did not have the exact outcome I desired (like curing my guttering entrails) I would leave the hypnotherapy feeling much calmer and more in control. That in itself was worth a lot.

So there's a lot of questions and possibilities there.

The spectre of the psychosomatic view of U.C., the difference between IBS and IBD, the idea that whether U.C. is psychosomatic or not there is still value and comfort in having a calm mind. On balance I think hypnotherapy is a great tool (both from my experience and current training), and possibly you could you could achieve similar levels of calm through other activities. Meditation, playing a musical instrument, going walking, dancing . . . etc

Just a small point though, if you do use hypnotherapy make sure your hypnotherapist chooses their metaphors carefully; my first encounter with this analogy was a bit disastrous; the last thing I wanted was flow!

I wanted a dam.

Things are progressing well, by the way, I have hypnotised quite a few different people now, using a number of different "inductions". We've even covered hand levitation. Looking forward to full body levitation shortly :)