05 July 2005

Paul McKenna

Is it hypnotism or is it NLP?

Is there a difference?

My understanding is that hypnotism is nothing more than talking to the five year old you. Before we get to five, mum and dad are gods, we know no better than what is being told us and everything goes straight to the subconscious. After that we start to learn personal judgement, although that judgement is based on what we had already absorbed about 'how life is' and 'who we are'. We filter stuff.

Say you are looking forward to a new project. If one of your filters is 'you're always doing things wrong' or 'you never finish anything' then your conscious mind may fight through that to do it right and to finish, but all the time the back of your own mind is poised to say 'I told you so' and instead of a wonderful achievement, your project becomes a chore, a high stress area and the site of a personal internal war.

'Real' hypnotism gets you to a relaxed, open minded state, where there is a chink in the defenses and anything that makes rational sense to you can slide on in to embed in your subconscious, so that it starts to make emotional sense, too.

My dad was a professional hypnotist - at least he was a mental nurse and qualified, practising hypnotist. Looking back on my own childhood, I was never asked to picture a beech or listen to a voice get slower and slower but I am damn sure that dad went out of his way to plant seeds of potential and lots of positive reinforcement.

Maybe thats why I'm such a screw up - I get brief cracks in the clouds when I feel hopeful, valid, special, like a pet project would be to one day change the world and make it all better, like if I really wanted to, I have everything I need to get out there and do wonderful things. Then I remember being five and being the most beautiful daughter in the whole wide world, for whom anything was possible. The kid who wanted to help other kids up on to that cloud of happiness.

Unfortunately, layered over that are factors that don't exactly contradict but are 'real life' for most people - all 'buts'. But you never finish anything, but you are making a fool of yourself, but that's a real big head you've got there, when you stand out from the crowd then you're an embarrassment, quit fooling yourself, etc etc.

All that shows up of that kid these days is outrage that only a child could express when I see others out to look after number one - that really gets my goat. Oh oops, if you've read anything here recently, you know that.

So here I am a happy nonentity. Well comfortable, safe, 'normal' , a bit splodgy and fuzzy round the edges, although the other words I could use for the same state are probably lazy, undisciplined, cop-out, chicken. It all depends how I wake up in the morning!

What got me to this cruelly analytical state? The Paul McKenna show on TV yesterday.

OK so he maybe spoiled his image for a while with those 'jolly' stage hypnotist appearances with people pretending to be farm animals on stage, but his focus these days is NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming - see courses here) and just because it has the word programming in it, that's more in line with what I imagine medical hypnotism is really like - getting past the conscious to eliminate or neutralise some of the subconscious antagonists.

He did seem a bit doctor-ish, a bit like he was encouraging people to open up but not listening to all of it - just searching for keywords that described the issues he would need to tackle. Obviously he has great compassion, but with his working head on it wasn't that noticeable. No he was off in his own thoughts as soon as he had the material he needed, busy calculating a way to approach the problem, although it made it look as though the client had been encouraged to spill out all their emotional issues only to receive either complete attention or equally complete inattention - a bit of a stark contrast.

The things he did for that drop-dead-gorgeous kiddy with the Tourettes were absolutely brilliant and really got to me. I really hope that boy does go to drama school - he has the build and looks to be a star. Just because when he really cringes at something it happens like a spasm, that shouldn't be a barrier at all if he is happy and confident. It ought to be recognised as a bonus, that this guy has really high tuned sensibilities and is probably more likely to be a solid friend and faithful to his word, unable to be callous. The mark of a hero, maybe.

I remember how newsworthy it seemed when actors outed themselves as dyslexic. Dyslexia has lost its public stigma and its now well known that dyslexics are of above average intelligence and brilliant thinkers/multitaskers. They used to be seen as the thickos at the back of the class.

Well, I have decided, I want to go have a mental spring clean, get rid of the obsolete defence mechanisms, backtrack through the downsizing of my self confidence and get a more balanced view of who I am and what I could achieve.

I'm not bipolar, I dont have obviously tortured periods in my life, but if I look back at how easy it was to be active, positive, up for new stuff at, say, sixteen, then by comparison the 44 year old addicted smoker and stay at home mum that I am is so very definitely depressed, by comparison.

Not ill enough to qualify for the McKenna TV programme, but if money landed in my lap I would spend it on the seminars, not just the self involved self improvement, but the training, so I could use better skills dealing with others. I may have to start with the books or CDs.

By the way, if you fancy any of his stuff, going through the links in this post will earn me brownie points which I can put toward a book for myself, so please, pretty please do that, if and when you feel like trying out his stuff.

Rather annoyingly, it seems that a lot of the tapes and CDs are currently out of stock, waiting for the supplier. But that just shows how popular the things are. Just think; they have to do some good, otherwise with so many sold, the chorus of unhappy customers would be deafening.

Hello? Unhappy customers? Did I hear a pin drop?


doris said...

Very interesting post. I didn't see the programme last night but have read a bit about NLP - very good stuff and there are various gurus out there on the subject and a lot of coaching is based on NLP.

I've clicked on your links and hope you can get enough for one of the McKenna books. Meanwhile..... see what your local library has on NLP. Might not be Mckenna but you might be pleasantly surprised :-)

Cheryl said...

Aww thats so nice of you!
No its OK - I make affiliate coppers but not like google links - its only if you buy something. So if you ever decide you want one of his books - please come back here!

doris said...

Doh! I like to think I am resaonably intelligent but sometimes I have to be hit on the head with the obvious! If I decide to buy one of his books I know where to come! :-)

Badaunt said...

We brushed past NLP when I was doing my teaching cert, and I'll never forget one of my teachers saying,

"Very powerful stuff. Very dangerous. Be careful."

I've never forgotten that, and steer clear of it aside from the basic eye movement stuff (for sorting out who is thinking visually and so on - it is occasionally - very occasionally - useful when I am teaching). But anything that involves mind control - mine or anybody else's - tends to make me itchy with worry. Things like this can be used either way, for good or... not.

HOWEVER... if it works for you, why not? I willingly confess to being somewhat biased about such things.