By: Pierre Benoit
Every human being, psychologists claim, has an ultimate goal. The goal may be maintained in the subconscious mind, but it is nonetheless a final objective. And it is the same for all people, regardless of race, creed, nationality or even physical condition.
The ultimate goal for each individual is Self-Actualization: Achieving what sports people call a “personal best.” Regardless of background, education, financial standing or other factors, every individual is subconsciously induced to move onward and upward, to be the best possible in relation to beliefs and values.
Progress toward the ultimate goal, and necessary intermediate objectives, is affected by experiential factors – the hand of cards dealt out by heredity, opportunity and life in general. There are three factors essential to positive progress: self-esteem, confidence and motivation. During the course of a lifetime, virtually everyone experiences problems involving one or more of these elements.
Resolving such problems is one of the most important and valuable capabilities of hypnotherapy.
Hi self-esteem is a basic essential of success. Low self-esteem, however, does not suddenly appear, like the symptom of an illness. It develops, like cancer, usually unnoticed in early stages, but spreading slowly throughout the mind until, when recognized, it may be full-blown, demoralizing destructive and possibly even terminal.
Low self-esteem actually must be dealt with before progress can be achieved in building self-confidence and creating motivation. It is difficult for a person to show confidence when he views himself as a low man on his own totem pole.
While poor self-esteem can emanate from events which might be considered personal setbacks (in business, relationships, health, etc.), the primary cause is negative programming from the past. It might be a product of judgmental parents, teachers, authority figures, relatives, or friends. Many times derogatory comments, ridicule, relentless criticism and similar factors ignore commendable achievement and simply focus on and accentuate the negative.
Frequently these events, hurts, or negative valuations are absorbed by and buried in subconscious memory, with the victim totally unaware of the sources of troubled feelings, fears, self-doubt and damaging attitudes.
But we know that the subconscious mind is a storage House of memory. Through hypnotherapy it is possible to set aside the conscious mind, seek, locate and uncover the detrimental memories which are adversely affecting the personality, and in bringing the problems to light and understanding, accomplish a resolution which can free the client from the past and open the doors to future progress and achievement.
The establishment of self-confidence must follow the disposition of past negative programming – eliminating from self perception any labels such as bad, wrong, stupid, clumsy, dumb, inept, untalented, ignorant, etc. Hypnosis can become the source of self-discovery – revealing unrecognized capabilities that lead to an acceptance of valid self-worth.
The procedures for developing self-confidence may vary considerably, depending on the depth and origins of the problem. In milder cases, working out problems of self-esteem may be followed by programming which utilizes visualization, creating in the mind pictures of success, confidence and appropriate abilities. Enhancing suggestions given in hypnotherapy can be absorbed and accepted, leading to attitude modification and positive demonstrations of newly acquired self-assurance.
In more complex cases where depression is a factor, the hypnotherapist may elect to use the techniques of parts therapy or the removal of fears to free up behaviour and reduce negative internal judgments so that positive self feelings and confidence can develop in a natural way.
Longer-term results can be significant. Mood and energy levels increase, compulsive and psychosomatic symptoms fade, emotions become understood, clients move toward self-direction and greater interpersonal involvement. Self derogation is reduced and positive feelings about life’s possibilities develop.
With self-esteem and confidence enhanced, improved motivation comes into the spotlight. Psychologist Abraham Maslow defined five levels at which people are motivated: Psychological – food, drink, sleep, sex; Safety – protection, freedom from fear, order; Belongingness – love, social contact, family, friends; Esteem – self-respect, need to be valued; Self-actualization – the need to grow, to achieve one’s potential.
Essential to generating positive motivation is elimination of any fear of failure (or its often hidden counterpart, fear of success). First, it is important to recognize motivations and subsequent successes of the past. Second, a sense of direction is needed. (Where am I going?) Then comes the all important factor of “goal setting.” Not the ultimate goal, but short-term, quickly achievable goal – a first step to provide convincing proof that forward movement is established. Finally, on achievement of this goal, self reward. This constitutes self recognition, a powerful motivating factor. This reward may be a self treat, or the pride of achievement and self-satisfaction. The lesson learned will be lasting.
Success breeds success!
The purpose of establishing short-term, success of goals is important to understand. A small success generates additional confidence. It creates a sense of completion, readiness and eagerness for the next up. The end result: MOTIVATION!
When choosing a hypnotherapist, it is important to be sure that he or she is qualified. Pierre Benoit, CHt, RCCH, is a member of the Association of Registered Clinical Hypnotherapists of Canada (ARCH) and of the International Medical and Dental Hypnotherapy Association (IMDHA) and can be reached at (514)472-3535.