Friday, April 27, 2012

Hypnosis and the Bullied

I'm always looking for new ways to apply what I do to other avenues. Not only does this make my business more profitable, but it allows me to serve a greater portion of the community. I was working with a teenager on anger, recently, and was talking about how we change others by changing ourselves, when I realized that some of these same hypnotherapy techniques could be applied to bullied kids in order to strengthen them and make them less prone to further victimization.

Let me back up. There's a theory that we can only change ourselves, not others. Fundamentally, that's true. However, when we change our own behavior, we change how those around us respond to us; that changes them. So, technically, when we change, others change, and those around them, and the ripple spreads. (Fellow therapists, that makes us so important to the ecosystem of the pond, even if we only help one fish.) I was talking to a teenager about anger and how people hold themselves when they're feeling anger - tense all over, with a certain posture and steely gaze. If you no longer hold yourself that way (through letting go of resentment and by letting things roll off you that previously induced anger), people won't respond to you as if you are angry.

To draw the parallel, if you were to scan a classroom or school hallway and look for the kid you think is most likely to be bullied, we could probably come to some agreement that he or she would be slumped in posture, head low, eyes downward, somewhat isolated from others, and so forth, in characteristics. It wouldn't matter the body structure of the child, nor the personality of the child, but on those factors alone, we could identify a "target." The confident child that exhibits direct eye contact, stands tall, walks briskly, and has an easy air about him/her is not going to be the first target. So could we get a group of kids together who have been bullied in some way and teach them to stand and walk and gaze differently? Certainly, and there is research that says this is being done in anti-bullying campaigns. No harm in that. But if these kids are still internalizing both the trauma of what happened (which is often re-experienced in the mind of some kids, and which resonates with a lot of adults) and are taking in new stimuli as harmful, it won't stick.

Thus, if we can take a group of kids and make it so they are free of that old harm and whatever happens next they take in as simply data and let it roll off them without attaching greater meaning behind it, they will automatically hold themselves differently, and it will stick. Subsequently, others will respond to them differently. Put that kid in an environment where no one knows him/her and they will get a whole new set of peers, and the peers they already have will notice a change, even if they can't pinpoint it. So, yes, hypnosis for bullying. New adolescent group coming very very soon! Stay tuned to my Facebook page for more information.

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