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Del Morrill, M.S. C.C.H


A Center for Counseling & Hypnosis
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Hypnosis and R.E.T.

Maurice Kouguell, Ph.D., BCETS

Regardless of their theoretical orientations, therapists are in agreement that certain things have to happen as part of therapy. The client is helped to alter his perception of himself or others or of situations and is led to evaluate new ways of coping. This is achieved by exploring his feelings, ideation's or experiences. All those are usually related to his current fears and difficulties in adjustment. In the process of releasing feelings and getting rid of anger and fears, one may experience abreactions, catharsis or desensitizations. And this is so for any technique used ranging from traditional approaches in psychotherapy to NLP procedures to Time Line Therapy, etc.

Through relaxation, pain and recurrent fears are reduced if not eliminated, thus giving the person greater control over his own life. Thus, the goal here is to modify the symptom in order to allow for better adjustment. Practicing new ways of thinking and feeling and imaging, especially under hypnosis, allows the client to apply his new learned gains in every day situations. Albert Ellis is the founder of Rational Emotive Therapy (RET).

RET is a behaviorally oriented cognitive therapy. Practitioners of RET, including Ellis, incorporate hypnosis as an adjunct to their techniques. Hypnosis attempts to modify the client's basic maladaptive thought processes, which then create maladaptive emotional responses. Behavior is presumed to be based on the thinking process. Ellis' position is that a well functioning individual behaves in a rational way and is aware or the rational reality surrounding him. He explains that people learn unrealistic beliefs and because of certain expectations, are led to behave irrationally. As a result we feel unnecessarily that we are worthless failures. As an illustration, a person may think "I should be able to win everyone's love and approval" or "I should be thoroughly adequate and competent in everything that I do." Of course, the aforementioned are unrealistic expectations and self imposed demands which would inevitably lead to self defeating and ineffective behavior in the real world. The outcome is then an emotional response stemming from irrational thinking and is by no means a reflection of reality. Ellis submits a list of irrational beliefs which he feels are at the core of most psychological maladjustment's.

The following are some illustrations of irrational beliefs: One should be loved by everyone for everything one does. Certain acts are awful or wicked and. people who perform them should be severely punished. It is horrible when things are not the way we would like them to be. Human misery is produced by external causes or outside events rather than by the view one takes of these conditions. If someone may be dangerous or fearsome, one should be terribly upset by It. It is better to avoid life problems if possible than to face them. One needs something stronger or more powerful than oneself to rely on. One should be thorough, competent, intelligent and achieving in all respects. Something once affected one's life; it will indefinitely affect it every time. One must have certain and perfect self control. Happiness can be achieved by inertia and inaction. We have virtually no control over our emotions and cannot help having certain feelings.

He goes on to list and describe others. The object of the Rational Emotive Therapy is to modify the individual belief system and self evaluation, especially addressing oneself to the irrational 'shoulds, oughts and musts', that are preventing a better sense of self worth and of life fulfillment. Ellis is the creator of the word "musturbation," pointing out the negative effects of all the self imposed 'musts'. The overall approach of RET is to dispute or refute a person's false beliefs through strong rational confrontations. The therapist actually teaches the client to identify and dispute the beliefs that were producing the negative emotional consequences. Therapists recognize that much of human suffering is unnecessary, for frequently the suffering is based on false interpretations, interpretations about one's own experiences which create anger, frustration, anxiety and depression. Much of is unnecessary.

It might be of use to the practitioner interested in cognitive behavior or RET to be aware of the usual 15 styles of distorted thinking:

1.Filtering: This is a process where a person takes the negative detail and magnifies it while filtering out all positive aspects of a situation. For example, "1 could have enjoyed the convert except that it started late."

2.Polarized Thinking: Things are black or white; good or bad. You're either perfect or a failure, there is no middle ground. For instance, stating that you are either with me, for me, or against me.

3.Over generalizations: One arrives at a general conclusion based on a single incident or flimsy evidence. Something has happened once, therefore it is bound to happen again. For example, a statement such as "Every since my car mechanic did a lousy job, I've never trusted any other car mechanic."

4.Mind Reading: Without people telling you more than they have, you know what they are feeling and why they behave and act the way they do and you are able to guess how people are feeling towards you. For instance, "He is always nice to me but I know that he does not like me."

5.Catastrophizing: You expect a disaster to happen. You notice or anticipate a problem and are always concerned with the "what ifs." For instance, what if tragedy strikes again; or. what if it happens to me. For example: "We haven't seen each other for two hours, what if the relationship is falling apart."

6.Personalization: When you think that everything people do or say, is necessarily related to you or that they react to you. You constantly compare yourself to others and always evaluate yourself to find out how you fare. For instance: "Quite a few people here seem smarter than I am."

7.Control Fallacies: This is when one feels controlled by outside sources, thus feeling helpless and a total victim of fate and circumstances. Here the fallacy is internal control holds you responsible for the pain and unhappiness of everybody around you. A typical statement here would be: "You can't buy the system."

8.Fallacy of Fairness: Illustrated in an example where you may feel resentful because you may have your own standards of what is fair and yet you may not be in agreement with others.

9.Blaming: Refusing to take responsibility and blaming others for your pain or also, blaming yourself for every problem. For instance: "It is your fault that we are always late."

10.Shoulds: Here the individual has a list of rigid rules, expecting how other people should behave, and if anyone is to break the rules, one becomes angry and feels guilty when breaking his own rules. For instance: "You should never ask people how much they make."

11.Emotional Reasoning: Believing that what you feel must be true automatically. If you feel stupid or boring, then you must be stupid or boring. For instance: stating "I feel depressed, life must be depressing."

12.Fallacy of Change: You expect that other people will change to suit you if you just keep pressuring them or cajole them enough. In this case you feel a need to change people because your hopes for happiness depend entirely on them. For instance: if you had invested more money 20 years ago, you would have had a much better life.

13.Global Labeling: This one generalizes one or more qualities into a negative overall judgment. For instance: a statement such as "he was a born loser and I could tell that from the very first day that he showed up here."

14.Being Right: You are continuously proving that your opinions and actions are correct. Being wrong is unthinkable and you will go to any lengths to demonstrate that you are right. For instance: "I don't care what you think, I am going to do it again exactly the same again because I know I am right."

15.Heaven's Reward Fallacy: You expect all your sacrifice and self-denial to be rewarded as though it is essential that they should be. You feel very bitter, angry, overly disappointed when the reward does not come. For instance: "I worked so hard and put in so much effort and look what it got me."

How do we recognize distorted thinking? There are basically two sings to alert us to a presence of distorted thinking:

1. The presence of painful emotions, such as feeling nervous, angry, depressed, annoyed at oneself, and re-experiencing those feelings over and over again.

2.The constant ongoing conflicts with people about whom you care. Becoming aware of how the person justifies one's conflicts. Albert Ellis stated in his book 'Reason and Emotion in Psychotherapy', that "all hypnosis is the result of the self talk." Ellis, as well as other writers, such as Artaoz, stated in his works on hypnosis and sex therapy, that "neurotic suffering is caused by an irrational or negative type of self hypnosis." Maladaptive emotions and self-defeating behavior stem from uncritical acceptance of one's negative self talk."

Being aware of the above and adding one's expertise in hypnosis can have huge value for the client. For instance, when the client comes to you with his self talk, such as: "I failed, therefore I am a nothing." This thought can be a clue for the hypnotherapist to replace those negative self suggestions with positive constructive and rational suggestions. For instance: "I can still adapt myself in spite of a failure." The person coming for smoke ending stating that "I am too weak to give up smoking, I'll always be a smoker," is giving himself self-suggestions which are self-defeating. Such suggestions under hypnosis could be replaced by: "I can stop smoking. It might be hard at times, but I can do it." Being aware of all the irrational sets of beliefs and being able to transform those into rational and positive suggestions will be effective. Adding to it self-hypnosis training, one can transform all the aforementioned distorted thinking into manageable and satisfactory thoughts which can lead to a healthy adjustment.

Application of RET involves ABC's:

A - representing the activating event which could be either internal or external in the client's life.

B stands for the belief system of the client which could be constructive views of the world that could be either rigid or flexible. When these beliefs are rigid they are referred to as irrational beliefs and are expressed in the form of absolute shoulds, musts, have to, got to, an so on. When the client adheres to those invalid premises, the conclusion will be irrational.

C represents the emotional and behavioral consequences of the client's belief about A. It follows then that C's are the results of rigid, irrational beliefs and negative A's and will be disturbed so are referred to as inappropriate negative consequences. C's that follow from flexible rational beliefs about negative's would be non-disturbed and are termed appropriate negative consequences. The inappropriate negative emotions are inappropriate for any one or more the following reasons:

1.They could engage the person self defeating behavior.

2.They may lead to the experience of a great deal of psychological pain and discomfort.

3.They could prevent the client from carrying out behavior necessary to reach goals.

Although RET uses logical methods of helping people change their basic irrational beliefs, it employs many cognitive methods of therapy. Among them are included: relaxation methods, reading, creative writing, as well as hypnosis. It uses imaging techniques including positive imagery where people imagine themselves succeeding rather than failing; and negative imagery, as in Rational Emotive Imagery, where clients imagine some of the worst things that could happen to them and make themselves appropriately sorry and regretful instead of panicking. RET is not only theory and practice of psychotherapy: it goes beyond that into a philosophical approach which holds that human disturbances are self-created and that people are capable of undoing their own disturbances. What better tool to be added to that approach than hypnosis.

Maurice Kouguell, Ph.D., BCETS
aurice Kouguell Ph.D., BCETS. Director: Brookside Center for Counseling and Hypnotherapy, 997 Clinton Place, Baldwin New York 11510 phone/fax 516 868-2233 e-mail contact@brooksidecenter.com
Brookside Center Web Site http://www.brooksidecenter.com/





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