When a client comes to see me for the first time, I have them complete a variety of forms to help me assess their needs. Their intake forms include information on the nature of the issue that we will be working on, what they have done to resolve the issue in the past, and how their lives will be enhanced by making this change. As I review this paperwork with them in our pre-hypnosis interview, I dig a little deeper into the issue to determine why they are coming to see me now . With a little probing, I am often able to determine that the timing of our sessions is not mere coincidence, and by recognizing this fact, I am able to work with this timing to maximize our sessions. By focusing on cycles that are already naturally occurring within and around the client, bringing them to the surface and calling the client’s attention to them, the subconscious mind responds very nicely to aid the client in making the change in their lives quickly and effectively.
As I assess how I can maximize the timing of our sessions, there are four factors that I take into account: upcoming events that the client is already focused on to achieve a goal, the client’s birthday, the anniversary of a significant event in the client’s life that may impact the issue that they are coming to see me for, and any seasonal changes that are taking place that we can utilize in our sessions.
- Upcoming event: Often, a client becomes motivated to come for hypnotherapy because they have a specific goal in mind, a goal that is tied to an event in the near future. Weight loss clients often come in because they have a special occasion that they want to look good for, such as a wedding, class reunion, or vacation. A client with confidence issues may have developed anxiety about a performance review at work. You may have a client who comes to you to work on their claustrophobia because they have an MRI scheduled, which is bringing the problem up to the surface. The possibilities are truly endless. All you have to do is ask “Why Now?”
For these clients, Age Progression to the event will help you maximize your work. In fact, many clients will benefit from a series of age progressions. We often do this with weight loss clients. We have the clients pre-vivify themselves gradually reaching their goal, progressing a few weeks, then months, and eventually reaching their goal. This technique is effective in helping clients achieve goals for any event in the future that they are working toward.
As an example, I recently worked with a test anxiety client. I age progressed through her last day of study and preparation for her exam all the way through to arriving at the exam feeling strong, confident, and most of all, calm and prepared. After the exam, the client called to let me know that she passed her test! She excitedly told me how much it helped her to walk through each step in the process in advance, from believing that she could easily go to sleep the night before, to getting ready in the morning and arriving with plenty of time to center herself before the test, to sitting down in the exam room, taking a deep breath, and feeling calm once she sat down to take the exam.
- Client’s Birthday: Many people approach their birthdays as their own personal “New Year,” and what better time to quit an unhealthy habit, seek insights into why you do the things that you do, or even stop to think “what is my life’s purpose and what can I do to achieve it?” than at the beginning of another year, whether it’s January 1 st or some other special day? Your client’s birthday becomes a great time for personal growth because it is more personal than the calendar New Year. It is already charged with meaning and intention, perhaps more so that the calendar New Year. As you review your client’s paperwork, if you realize that their birthday is coming up in the near future, this is a great time to add in suggestions about their personal New Year and their ability to effect change in their life at this time.
- Anniversary: A client may report to you that they are ready to work on a particular issue because they are approaching the anniversary of a significant event in their lives. This is often, but not always, the anniversary of a painful event that they are having trouble facing, such as the death of a loved one, a significant injury or accident, a break-up, a crime victimization, or a job loss. As the anniversary date approaches, the client may begin focusing more and more on what they did a year ago that day, or they may reflect on their sadness at having experienced a whole year of life since it was changed significantly. Some may turn to distracting behaviors such as alcohol or food in order to cope, others may become depressed, while others may set their intentions on the anniversary as a time for reflection, personal growth, or even celebration.
If your client reports an upcoming (or recently passed) anniversary of a significant date in his or her life, especially a painful event, you can use this timing in your work together. It may be appropriate to do a grief session to aid them in releasing the pain of this situation. You can also help the client gain insight into the ways that his or her life has changed since the initial incident, honoring their personal growth and working with forgiveness on areas that are ready to be released. This may be a good time to help the client set personal goals to enhance his or her life in the coming year and to age progress them through some of the steps that they plan to take to achieve their goals.
- Seasonal Cycles: There are many times throughout the year that you can take advantage of natural cycles to help you maximize your effectiveness with your clients by giving them something extra to focus on between sessions in the form of simple direct suggestion and post-hypnotic suggestion.
In January, you can take advantage of the New Year to help your client overcome habits and behaviors that they no longer wish to have in their lives. You can also help them focus on the New Year and all of the things that they want to bring into their lives in the coming year.
As the year moves toward February, Valentine’s Day gives us an opportunity to focus on matters of the heart. The root of many clients’ issues begin at a time that they felt that they were not loveable. This is a great time to work with them to embrace their loveability, which can be reinforced everywhere that they see hearts throughout the month!
During March, April, and May, you can bring in elements of Spring, especially eggs and seeds, butterflies, and the concepts of transformation and rebirth. During June and July, in the United States, I like to work with the energy of Independence Day, encouraging my clients to celebrate their independence from their old habits or ways of thinking.
As the year continues to shift towards Fall and eventually Winter, you can continue to work with the energy of the seasons by focusing on letting go, releasing old habits and patterns just as the trees release their leaves. By this point, you can head once again into working with the energy of the New Year, focusing on leaving the old habits and behaviors behind in the current year. Working with these seasonal cycles will give you great little things to throw into your direct suggestion, and they can be very effective because the client will see reminders of these suggestions everywhere that they go, reinforcing the work that you are doing with them.
Working with these cycles, whether seasonal or based on the client’s own history, is a simple step to take, but it can help you in your sessions in significant ways to personalize your sessions and help effect change in the client’s life. Start with “why now,” follow through with age progression, direct suggestion, or a specialized session, and the possibilities are endless!
What a timely reminder this post is Brenda. For some inexplicable reason, I had stopped asking this question of my new clients and sometimes feel a bit lost during future progression work.
As I read your article, it reminded me of one of the hypnosis etc episodes where you mentioned it too. Gosh, I can’t believe I’ve been letting this question slip by. It really does offer a powerful set of suggestions for future progression work, as you say. And, it gives such insight into our clients and their motivation.
Thank you for the reminder.