Book Reviews

More Scripts and Strategies in Hypnotherapy

by Lynda Hudson
Crown House Publishing

Wow. What a rich compendium of scripts for both novice and seasoned professional.

Lynda Hudson provides such a valuable resource that it deserves to become a classic guide for the hypnotherapist who wonders what to say to help a client challenged with e.g., tics, illness, childbirth, unwanted habits, business fears, social anxiety, sports performance, or travel toilet phobia Those are just a few of the subjects the author tackles so adroitly.

Unlike the earlier Script books by Roger Allen this text includes commentary by the author on the right-hand side of the script pages. [Accomplished so much better than a similar effort by myself many years ago in my community organization action guide for McGill University!].

Hudson's breadth of knowledge of so many issues that face clients seeking hypnotherapy is nothing short of astounding. Whatever the topic, she provides clear, compassionate wording that can be adapted to particular people and their circumstances.

Thus the scripts for a client wishing to change how he or she behaves in a business setting deal with delegating, public speaking, self-confidence and procrastination.

Hypnotherapists need to be able to ad lib. We need what is colloquially known as the "gift of the gab." And these scripts provide prompts, ideas and hints to inform such eloquence. The author also includes breathing techniques, inductions and "reorientation" procedures.

Focus is always on the client, and his or her inner strengths. This admirable trait of Hudson's is somewhat diluted by her great reliance on embedded commands. This, like much else in the book is, I think, an NLP technique and I wonder about its effectiveness.

Does emphasizing certain words or phrases really have such a positive impact on a client? After all, Hudson herself acknowledges that "good listening and rapport are crucial. So, of course, are trust and respect, and wholehearted, mutual belief in the method, together with skill and compassion of the therapist."

This would suggest that who a hypnotherapist is and how she conducts herself is more influential than which particular words she uses. Nevertheless, Hudson begins the book with five pages of "Hypnotic Language". This appears to be what we've come to consider as Ericksonian patter. Again, it seems to me that the therapist's intent and genuine concern count for far more than certain words and phrases. Coming out of the mouth of an indifferent, uncaring or insincere therapist surely such "hypnotic" words would echo hollowly to the client? (Rather like the NLP manipulative technique of "mirroring" the client's posture and movements).

Hudson includes details on the NLP "Rewind" technique (viewing an activity as though it were a movie running backwards.) I can only suppose that the author has often used this procedure. Because there's no way I can imagine such a reverse movie in my head.

But there is no questioning of Lynda Hudson's own sincerity. We can learn so much from her book: not only hints and even whole texts with which to help clients but how to imitate her modesty should we ever aspire to mastering her evident skills.

Oddly, this book lacks an index. Should you want to locate a script for agoraphobia for instance, you have to wade through all the phobia pages. Similarly with the otherwise excellent scripts for sexual dysfunction if you were looking specifically to help a woman seeking to overcome her inhibitions about climaxing.

I'm sure Hudson is acutely aware of cultural differences and the need to adapt her scripts according to the geographical background and upbringing of the client but without an index I could not easily locate that guidance.

Hmm. Maybe the lack of an index is not such a bad thing given that in searching for a specific topic, the reader learns an enormous amount along the way.

An excellent section on how to sleep well is especially pertinent, given the widespread fatigue of stressed-out, sleep-deprived commuters in North America and the U.K.

Seems the British are, however, ahead of us with another important efficacious use of hypnosis because, writes Hudson, "in some [U.K.] hospitals hypnotherapy has become the treatment of choice for IBS."