This distance learning Integrating Mindfulness with Hypnotherapy master class introduces the practice of mindfulness and the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) programme and how mindfulness can be integrated with hypnotherapy. It includes live video of the classroom teaching sessions, along with all course notes and scripts.
COURSE TOPICS INCLUDE:
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness Training – How to Achieve Mindfulness
Research on Mindfulness
Is Mindfulness the Same as Hypnosis?
How Can Mindfulness and Hypnotherapy Be Integrated?
Resources and References
The following information can be found here:
During 2012, over 500 scientific articles on mindfulness were published. This was more than the total number of mindfulness articles published between 1980 and 2000. A recent survey by the Mental Health Foundation (MHF) found that 75% of general practitioners in the UK believe that mindfulness is beneficial for patients with mental health problems (MHF, 2010). Indeed, recent findings indicate that Mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs) may be effective treatments for a broad range of psychological disorders and somatic illnesses (e.g., Chiesa and Serretti, 2011; Fjorback et al., 2011). Given the recent growth of interest into the clinical utility of mindfulness, an appraisal of the empirical evidence and discussion of issues that impact upon the ethical standing and credibility of MBIs is timely.
Mindfulness derives from Buddhist practice and is described in the psychological literature as an intentional and non-judgemental awareness of the present moment (Kabat-Zinn, 1990). Mindfulness is utilized in secularized interventions such as Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR). MBSR is a group-based program consisting of weekly meetings (~3 h duration) typically delivered over an 8-week period. The program has been delivered to over 19,000 participants since 1979 (Centre for Mindfulness, 2009). Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) follows a similar structure (i.e., 8-weeks, group-based, weekly meetings, guided mindfulness exercises, CD for self-practice, all-day retreat) and is advocated for the treatment of specific forms of depression by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (2009) and by the American Psychiatric Association (2010). In addition to MBSR and MBCT, a number of other group-based MBIs have been developed to target specific illnesses and/or populations (Table 1). Mindfulness techniques have also been integrated into a number of one-to-one cognitive behavioral therapeutic modes such as Dialectic Behavior Therapy (Linehan, 1993) and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (Hayes et al., 1999).
The following information can be found here:
Mindfulness is a contemplative practice involving focused attention, attentiveness to the present moment, and nonjudgmental awareness. It is a way of experiencing the world that can facilitate powerful life changes and open the door to greater well-being. Clinical interventions that use mindfulness offer a unique perspective that can help people improve clients’ lives. Hypnosis is defined as “a state of consciousness involving focused attention and reduced peripheral awareness characterized by an enhanced capacity for response to suggestion” (Elkins, Barabasz, Council, & Spiegel, 2015). Hypnotherapy presents an intriguing synchronicity with some aspects of mindfulness, in that it also is a practice that involves focused attention, experiencing the world differently, and improving clients’ lives. However, these two practices differ in many respects, such as the use of hypnotic suggestions during hypnotherapy to empower patients to achieve treatment goals.
Mindful hypnotherapy (MH) is an intervention that intentionally uses hypnosis (hypnotic induction and suggestion) to integrate mindfulness for personal or therapeutic benefit. In MH, we utilize hypnosis as a powerful delivery vehicle for mindfulness. Hypnosis is a medium that enables mindfulness to be absorbed and integrated more easily, efficiently, and effectively. This can be expressed alternately as follows: Imagine that the scientists of the future created a wonder drug that could reduce all suffering by 50%. Now, imagine that the medicine came in only one pill form and that the pill was the size of a golf ball. What would happen next? There would be great interest in smaller pills or alternative ways of accessing the “medicine.” This metaphor highlights a core truth that lies at the heart of MH: It’s not just a medicine or treatment that is important, but how that medicine is delivered.
Clinicians who are trained only in mindfulness may have preconceived notions about hypnosis. Likewise, individuals who are trained only in hypnosis may have self-limiting ideas about mindfulness. For example, given the history of hypnosis, some might think of it as it has sometimes been portrayed in “hypnotist shows,” as a form of entertainment or mind control. Hypnotherapy is neither entertainment nor a method of “mind control.” Hypnosis and hypnotherapy involve a focus of attention and receptivity to suggestions and are directed toward empowering clients to achieve their personal goals. They are respectful of clients and used in a flexible manner by therapists with sufficient training and experience. During a hypnotic state, an individual is uniquely receptive to exploring experiences with an open mind and with avid curiosity. By clearly explaining mindfulness and guiding a client’s experiences directly in a hypnotic state, we can pave the way for the client having similar experiences with mindfulness in the future. This helps to expedite a client’s orientation toward greater mindfulness and helps the client explore the beneficial effects of mindfulness on his or her own during daily life.
Clinicians who are familiar with hypnosis but lack a background of training in mindfulness may have misconceptions about it being unscientific, strange, and inextricable from its religious roots (these issues are further addressed in Chapters 2 and 3 of this book). Mindfulness may be misunderstood as being “the same as hypnosis” or as just a relaxation or stress management technique. It is not. Mindfulness and hypnosis can, however, be combined for a synergistic effect.
One of the challenges to effectively integrating mindfulness into treatment is conveying the subtle, yet radical wisdom that mindfulness entails.1 This is important because a lack of understanding of nonjudgmental awareness, for example, can dilute the impact of mindfulness practice and delay its clinical utility. When a client misperceives a mindfulness concept, the distortion often occurs when the client comes face to face with unfamiliar concepts or when even the clinician does not have sufficient training and experience with mindfulness practice. For example, consider the following description of mindfulness that a client will sometimes provide, even several sessions into a mindfulness-based treatment:
I have been doing this mindfulness thing for a couple of weeks now and I think I’m finally getting the hang of it! Yesterday I was feeling really angry at my mother-in-law, but I hate being angry and I know that blowing up at her is only going to make things worse. So: I just put those feelings in a box, put a smile on my face, took a deep breath, and went on with my life. It was very Zen.
The client’s approach to this situation may have been the best option available to the client given the circumstances. Regardless of its effectiveness or ineffectiveness, it demonstrates the use of coping skills that are almost diametrically opposed to mindfulness. In this case, the client has misconstrued equanimity as nonengagement, has confused nonjudgmental awareness with trying to control feeling, and has assumed that if something is unpleasant it must be escaped (in this case, by compartmentalizing the experience and pretending that everything is fine).
Hypnosis shares similarities to mindfulness in that it involves guiding clients to achieve a focus of attention. However, it is different from mindfulness in its theoretical foundations and in the very intentional use of suggestions to guide experience and achieve a range of specific goals. Hypnotherapy interventions typically are directed toward change or alteration in thoughts, feelings, physiology, or behavior. An example of a client using self-hypnosis is illustrated in the following comment by the client using hypnosis for pain control.
The other day, I was at the doctor’s having a biopsy, and it was really painful and unpleasant. I was able to be use the self-hypnosis that you taught me, and I just went to another place in my mind. I tuned out the pain and just focused on a relaxing memory. Before I knew it, the procedure was over, and I went on with my day.
In this case, the client is using hypnosis to relax and cope with a painful procedure. This can be effective and there are benefits to using self-hypnosis in this way. However, it is not an illustration of the power of nonjudgmental awareness, acceptance, daily practice, or the deeper wisdom of mindfulness. The benefits of mindfulness go beyond simply finding a technique or method for coping with a stressful or painful situation or event. The power of mindfulness can be life changing and extends to all forms of suffering—emotional, physical, interpersonal, existential, and spiritual. Consider the following comment from an individual who had begun mindfulness practice on a daily basis:
Since learning mindfulness, my experience of every aspect of my life has changed. I have a sense of stillness and I’m able to “be with what is” no matter what is happening, and I am less stressed. The time I take to meditate gives me perspective on the events of the day. Things just do not overwhelm me as they did in the past . . . . I feel that I am more present in the moment . . . less worried . . . less stressed . . . living in the now.
This chapter began with a quote from Dr. Milton Erickson, one of the most important figures in contemporary psychotherapy and hypnosis: “Until you are willing to be confused about what you already know, what you know will never grow bigger, better, or more useful.” There is great potential for the integration of hypnosis and mindfulness (Yapko, 2011); however, to achieve this, clinicians and individuals must be open and flexible in their understanding of both concepts. To be confused is to be open to learning, and learning creates new understanding and potential for growth and thereby potentially grows bigger, better, and more useful. Acceptance and change are not incompatible. It is mind-expanding to go beyond existing schemas and create new ones.