Communication in healing ñ curse or cure?
| by Peta Heskell
Many years ago, whilst living abroad with an alcoholic partner a dreadful row ensued. I told him that I hoped he would crash the car and die. I also added that I hoped he wouldnt damage my car. Two days later my partner did crash the car and died. The car was virtually unharmed.
My mother had an argument with a builder and hissed at him I hope you die of a heart attack. One week later he died of a heart attack.
Susan got breast cancer. On the advice of a friend, a kinesiologist, Susan went to the States and worked with an NLP practitioner. Her breast cancer disappeared. When she returned to the UK she became pregnant. Her doctor was horrified. He said
Shortly after the child was born, the cancer resurfaced, all over her body. Susans friend called me in desperation seeking another NLP therapist for Susan. Two days after seeing the therapist, Susan had a scan. The cancer had shrunk considerably.
Were my mother and I unconsciously using the latent power of hexing? Was the doctor instrumental in the resurgence of Susans cancer? Did the work the therapist did with Susan help her to fight the cancer? The average Joe in the street would probably dismiss this all as coincidence. Im not convinced that coincidence is the only explanation.
After reading Dr Larry Dosseys book, Be Careful What You Pray For.. You Just Might Get It I began to wonder ..
How powerful is thought and the way we transmit it to others? If, as Dossey meticulously documents, we can influence others with our words and prayers, what lesson is here for the healing professions? Dossey is a medical doctor. Most of his experience is based on carefully researched evidence.
Dossey relates how one patient developed unexpected serious complications after an abdominal operation. The patient told his nurse that he felt he was going to die. A consultant psychiatrist was called in and under hypnosis the patient revealed that, whilst under anaesthetic, he had heard someone say This is the worst case Ive ever seen. A medical student had indeed said those words. The student had only seen one case and had meant his comment as a joke. The student was summoned to explain his comment and two days later the patient recovered completely.
This is just one of many many examples of what I call medical hexing. Richard Bandler, the founder of NLP has had some personal experiences of this form of attack. A few years ago, Richard was die-agnosed as die-abetic. When the doctor dispensed his medicine, Richard was [as the US law of informed consent requires] told about the potential side effects. 95% of people who take this become impotent. To most people this powerful hypnotic suggestion from a doctor would probably be enough to put a serious damper on their love life! Richard refused to accept the suggestion and told the doctor. Im one of the 5% who wont!
A couple of years ago, Richards wife Paula was stricken by a very rare dis-ease. The doctors told Paula that she may never walk again. When Richard heard this, he immediately removed his wife from the hospital and proceeded to use all his skills to hypnotically re-programme the hexing Paula had received from her doctors. Today Paula is fully recovered and has resumed her active life. Last month she spent an entire day walking round Disneyland.
As children we are encouraged to believe in the infallibility doctors and teachers. We learn that the doctor always knows best. In the same way, across the ocean in Haiti, people are brought up to believe in the infallible power of the witch doctor. When the bone spins and points to the victim, the victim dies. Beliefs are powerful beyond measure. Doctors hold enormous power. I believe they can curse or cure someone with their words alone. If the mind can be led to act out negative suggestions, it stands to reason it can be led in the opposite direction.
What would happen if doctors and practitioners of medicine, complementary or otherwise, could learn to harness alternative skills and powerful language that enhanced the healing process rather than hindered it?
Richard Bandler believes that rather than just using one method, there are many ways to help people recover. When asked about the usefulness of hypnosis and alternative/complementary methods in conjunction with medical practice he had this to say.
Bandler has a great suggestion to get round informed consent. He suggests that doctors can deliver the message with incongruence. This means that if they were telling someone that a side effect of the drug they are taking is impotence, they could ensure their body language did not back up what they are saying. Common statistics suggest that people will choose to believe the body signals over the words in cases where the two are not giving the same message. He also suggests when delivering the message they finish by saying very congruently I am sure this wont be the case with you!
What if, when faced with what they consider to be terminal cases, doctors were a) able to talk positively to their clients and give them hope and b) willing to refer them to alternative practitioners? These professions should not be at odds, but should work together to create holistic health care. Bandler agrees.
I have assisted on a number of Bandlers trainings over the years and I have encountered an ever-increasing number of alternative/complementary practitioners amongst the participants. I also run a group where I get the opportunity to meet many of these people after their training. Most of them have discovered that what they learn in these courses can be blended with their own skills to create amazing results.
The use of hypnotic suggestions in aiding recovery and creating hope has enormous potential. During one training I worked with a respected heart surgeon. He was really excited at the possibilities of how he could use hypnosis with his patients to allay their fears, increase recovery, create a positive outlook and give them tools for the future.
Bandler has recently gone back to the roots of deep trance hypnosis. He believes that this lies at the core of healing work.
I believe every one of us has the potential to be a negative hexer or a positively powerful healer. How many people grow up believing they are ugly, incompetent, or limited because of some powerful hypnotic suggestion implanted carelessly in childhood? For many people they only have to hear someone say you look unwell, peaky, tired to begin to feel unwell, tired or peaky! How many times have you unconsciously acted on post-hypnotic suggestions from people who dont even know what they are doing? Even if you think you havent, you surely have. The best hypnotic suggestions are unconsciously absorbed. You might not even realise it, but people are hexing you all the time.
I recently saw a doctor as a client. He came to me because he felt his poor communication style was affecting not only his love life but also his work. This man was a hypnotically powerful communicator. Unfortunately he communicated negativity, despair and misery. A little reprogramming helped him realise his potential and change the focus of his hypnotic language!
Doctors are mainly taught to be great technical healers, and until recently, they received very little training in the art of communication. Bedside manner was considered something they either had naturally or they didnt. Fortunately this is changing, but not quickly enough, yet. There are people working, even as I write this, to convince the NHS to embrace NLP and other skills as part of the official medical training curriculum in the UK.
When we can harness the ability to influence others in a positive way, how much easier and effective will the healing be?
Bandler has been working on a new set of skills that go beyond NLP to utilise deep trance to affect yourself and others for the better. He calls this Neuro-Hypnotic Repatterning. He describes it thus
The potential is there to create a truly holistic healing society, when we pool resources and when healers with one skill learn from or harness the skills of others. When we come to realise that many of the not so pleasant things that happen to people are the direct result of uninformed and unconscious hypnotic suggestions, we can change this for the better. We can heal the world when we work in harmony, blending the old and the new. Its our choice.
For the exclusive and full transcript of this most recent interview with Richard Bandler, go to www.meta-nlp.co.uk
Peta Heskell is a Society of NLP Licensed NLP Trainer and Communication Therapist and can be contacted on 0700 4 354 784 or firstname.lastname@example.org
© 1993-2008, by Stever Robbins