What Happens in a Solution Focused Therapy Session Part 3 - Deep Relaxation or Hypnotherapy
Updated: Mar 31
In this 3 part series, I aim to show you exactly what is involved in Solution Focused Therapy sessions with me. Part 1 of the series explains the breakthrough session while part 2 focuses on the review & miracle question.
Saying the word hypnotherapy conjures up images of swinging pocket watches and making you cluck like a chicken but in Solution Focused work you couldn't be further from the truth.
You will have read in parts 1 and part 2 of this series that a lot of work needs to be done before we even mention relaxation techniques at all. It's the combination of all of these techniques, working in a certain sequence, that makes the whole process so efficient and powerful. This is a formula that works and I tailor it to get the best out of it for your needs.
From the 'miracle question' in part 2, you will have described an image of what would make you feel good. And once you've reassured me that you would feel really good about that then you are 'ready for the couch.' The subconscious is ready to get to work while your conscious mind will drift away.
Now, I do have an actual couch here which I ask you to lie on as we will begin an approximately 20-minute session of deep relaxation. Up until now we will have been sitting in chairs opposite each other and talking. Using this actual physical change of space indicates to the brain that we are now changing modalities. Lot's of work has been done but now it's time to relax. After only a few sessions a lot of my clients just can't wait for this next bit!
You will have a blanket to cover yourself because as you relax your body temperature will drop, so even during the summer months I will insist you use the blanket.
I will also place on your fingers the sensors of a GSR (Galvanic Skin Response) Monitor. This is a digital meter that gives me an indication of how well you can go into relaxation and stay there. I don't 'set my stall' by it but I do use it over the course of our sessions to note your improvement - and there is always improvement!
Now I will turn the lights down a little, play some music and take you through some guided relaxation techniques. Oh, and you remember that recording I gave you to fall asleep to as your homework, well it will often be similar to that so that you can truly relax. It has now become so familiar that you can just relax completely and comfortably.
What I want you to experience here is a state of mind where you feel in control and yet you are deeply relaxed. Your mind will wander and you will begin to daydream. My voice will continue in the background and it may feel that you haven't heard much of what I have said but that really doesn't matter. This state of mind has been described in the past by scientists as the 'inner rehearsal mode' or the 'high-performance state.'
In fact, my clients that have made the quickest progress have even fallen asleep on the couch. Snoring and rumbling tummies are a common occurrence and I love hearing those sounds as it indicates to me that you are truly relaxed.
The language patterns (the words that I use to guide you) are all very indirect suggestions to help you feel better. I begin by taking you through physical relaxation, as you pay attention to your body from head to toe. Then some relaxing visualisations, walking through a garden maybe, or sailing on a lake, or floating through a rainbow. I will then continue with positive affirmations around what you are working on, for example, confidence, feeling in control, or calming your thoughts. I finish with a short story which is often a metaphor. Historically, storytelling is a really useful tool to help you relax.
Now you will have already experienced this state of mind before. Have you ever driven somewhere and forgotten parts of the journey. Or watched a good film and not realised that 2 hours have gone by? Well, it's much like that. If there had been an emergency you would have become alert but during that time your attention was so focused on one thing that all peripheral things fade into the background.
When we experience this state of mind on the couch, after doing solution focused work, the subconscious is working really hard. As well as emptying your 'stress bucket' it begins to communicate with all other parts of your brain to come up with ideas that are suitable to you to change the way you think, feel and behave. So you don't have to hang on to every word I say while you relax. I believe that you have all the answers inside you and you will come up with the solutions. In fact, if I directly told you what to do, you would become more alert again and you are not experiencing the deep state of relaxation that is so beneficial to you during this whole process.
Once we have completed this exercise I will ask you to gently 'wake up' and bring your awareness back fully, open your eyes and sit up. You'll come and sit back on the chairs again and have a glass of water. You won't feel any different, just as if you've had a little nap, which often is true.
We will finish our session positively by arranging your next one, where I'll always say that I look forward to hearing about 'all the good things' you will tell me about next week! Can you see how I'm setting you up for success? I will remind you to keep doing your homework of falling asleep to the recording.
You will begin to notice changes in your week. The change that I help you create occurs in the therapy room but you will reap the rewards in your normal every-day life. And, for me, there is nothing more rewarding than that.
I hope that this series has given you an insight into how I do things. Obviously, it's very difficult to include all the details here so please do get in touch if you have any further questions. I need you to feel comfortable and trust me. Everything I do is not secretive or mysterious, I encourage you to ask any questions so that you feel reassured that this process works.
Gin Lalli email@example.com
Gin Lalli is a Solution Focused Therapist specialising in anxiety, depression, stress and sleep. She is based in Edinburgh, Scotland