Elegance is the removal of the unneeded, the act of stripping down until what’s left is that of total purity. It is coveted in the arts; the dancer whose flick of the wrist is a gesture of beauty, the painter who captures perfectly the essence of his subject in just a few strokes, the pianist whose song is of such dynamism that it doesn’t require the support of an orchestra but instead stands alone in glory. It is coveted in the sciences; the researcher meticulously plotting the human genes to unearthr the precise function of each one, the engineer making the minute calculations needed to ensure that the airplane will fly, the urban planner using spacial efficiency to find the equilibrium between individual comfort and city function. Elegance is a virtue of the optimum and is achieved only by those who are the masters of their craft.
In the field of hypnosis, elegance is crucial. Mostly due to the nature of the subject. Namely, that the subject is the most important thing that could ever be worked on: a human being. Because of this, the hypnotherapist cannot afford to be crude or messy. There is no room for collateral damage. Each move on the hypnotherapist’s part must be well thought out in order to achieve superlative results.
To illustrate this fact, we can compare helping a client successfully stopped smoking to opening the door of a locked room. One hypnotherapist may use a method of ceaseless repetition to rid his client of the smoking habit: “You are a non-smoker! You are a non-smoker! You are a non-smoker!” This is the equivalent of taking a battering ram to the door and trying to knock it down. It is coarse and harsh, and while it may get the job done eventually, it takes a long time and can be a messy situtation. Another hypnotherapist may use different methods, such as regression or parts therapy.
He listens to his client’s personal history with smoking and reasons for wanting to quit. While smoking is a common behaviour, every smoker has an individual relationship with cigarettes. By personalising his sessions to meet his client’s individual needs, this hypnotherapist will achieve maximum results with no wasted energy. This is the equivalent of finding the key and unlocking the door. It is the elegant approach to hypnotherapy. And of course, this is applicable to much more than just smoking cessation.
Another example of elegance verses boorishness can be seen with induction techniques. Not everyone responds in the same manner to each induction. While a certain technique may receive a positive response from one individual, it may be ineffective with someone else, regardless of how similar the people or their problems may be. And so it is vital for the hypnotherapist to be flexible with his inductions. He must pay close attention to the reaction of his client and to consistently be testing to see how deep into hypnosis his client is.
In fact, flexibility as a whole is crucial to retaining elegance during a hypnosis session. This means not working off of a script. Scripts take a one-size-fits-all approach; given that every person and situation is highly unique, it is obvious why scripts are less than ideal. Preconcived scripts leave no room for the client to respond or for the hypnotherapist to customise the session. If the hypnotherapist doesn’t feel comfortable “hypnotising by the seat of his pants” and needs to rely on some sort of system, then a branching flow chart approach is more practical than a linear process. This is because flow charts allow for a variety of potential responses and results to each scenario as well as for greater modification to be made on the hypnotherapist’s behalf so that he may be able to meet his client’s needs.
In order to be adaptive, the hypnotherapist must have a “toolbox” of methods available. This means being knowledgeable about and comfortable using a variety of hypnotherapy methods from different schools of thought. While it is understandable for the hypnotherapist to have a preference or to even deem one certain technique more “universally effective” than another, it is still necessary to have as extensive a set of options to work from as possible in order to best suit the client’s situation. Some hypnotherapists find it an asset to have studied various neuro-linguistic programming tactics and to fuse them into general practice. Regardless, it is essential to maintain an open mind when learning hypnotherapy and to continuously broaden the pallet of skills from which to choose from.
As previously mentioned, elegance is based upon purity, sacrificing extravagance for quality. When it comes to hypnotherapy, the more tailored a session is, the more elegant it becomes. And, also as previously mentioned, to personalise the session the hypnotherapist must be flexible and know which hypnotic tools best suit the situation. The primary way of determining how to personalise the session is through direct feedback from the client. The hypnotherapist must to know if he is moving too quickly or slowly, or if his methods are effective or need to be tweaked. Furthermore, it is not reasonable to rely on the client to make mention if the hypnotherapist’s techniques are failing to get the desired result. Instead, it is the hypnotherapist’s responsibility to invoke feedback and dialogue to ensure that what he is doing is productive.
On the whole, the hypnotherapist must remember that while it is important to keep his client’s desired destination in mind, he needs to be flexible about the way he uses to get there. He needs to be attuned to subtle cues during the session and react accordingly. Hypnotherapy is not a rigid activity, like army boot-camp, meant to mould a person into a predetermined shape. Instead, it is an opportunity for a person to grow and come into their own as an individual. And it is up to the hypnotherapist to be keenly aware of how to best allow this event to take place.
Elegance is the surgeon who knows exactly where to make the incision so as to repair the unhealthy organ without damaging the surrounding tissue. It is the haiku poet whose short verse strikes like a sword, unleashing a powerful wave of emotion upon the reader. It is the judo master whose simple movement is so directed that it knocks his bewildered assailant to the ground. And it is the hypnotherapist who is so acutely aware of the details occurring within the session that he is able to harmonise his practice with his client’s needs.