Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Derren Brown – Hero at 30,000ft

Over the weekend I managed to catch Derren Brown’s latest TV show Hero at 30,000 feet (http://www.channel4.com/programmes/derren-brown-the-specials/4od#3120303). I absolutely loved the programme and want to highlight the way in which his work in this programme is pretty much the same as my work as a hypnotherapist (only I’m yet to help anyone land an aeroplane!)

If you didn’t see the programme try and watch it using the above link as it is really good viewing. To cut a long story short Derren started with a man who was pretty weak in character. He was stuck in a rut, a dead end job still living at home with his parents and generally not doing what he wanted in life. Over the period of a month Derren worked with the man to help him transform his life. Only the man didn’t know this was happening.

Derren started by giving the man certain challenges. The first was to put him right in the middle of an armed robbery. As a hypnotherapist I know that when in shock or confused the brain goes into a state where it is more able to accept suggestions. The ‘robber’ (who was of course an actor) said to the man as he was leaving the scene “you’ve done nothing with your life”. This had a big impact on the man so much so that he mentioned it to the ‘shopkeeper’ (also an actor) later on.

A couple of times throughout the month Derren woke the man from his sleep, having fitted discrete speakers in his bedroom. He called the man down to the garden and spoke to him. Again I know that hypnosis is the stage before sleep. If you look at brainwaves, when one is in a normal, alert awake state they are in beta, alpha is a relaxed state, maybe taking a walk in the garden. Theta is a daydream like state, theta is also the hypnotic state. Have you ever arrived at a destination after having driven a route you drive often and realised that you can’t remember driving the last five miles?! This is you in a hypnotic state and also your brainwaves in theta. Lastly delta, this is the sleep state. I have just explained to you here that hypnosis is the state just before sleep and the state in which we can be awake but forget what we have been doing. This explains how Derren was able to wake his subject from sleep, ask him to get dressed and walk downstairs out into the garden, speak to him and then have him forget it in the morning. It should be noted that Derren also mentioned that the man was highly suggestible – a plus for any hypnotist! Derren spoke to the man about what he should be doing with his life, said some things that would make him think about life in general (what a miracle it is and how we should make the most of every opportunity etc) and got him to touch a crocodile on the back!

The final challenge (there were others) was to have the man lay on a train track in a straight jacket with a train hurtling towards him. Now I am sure there was some camera trickery here and the man did not manage to jump up with the train only one inch away from him but even if the train was a mile away from me I would be shitting it – excuse the language here but I most definitely would! All of these challenges helped the man to learn how to take risks and also to appreciate life a little more.

The final challenge showed the man offering to land an aeroplane that he thought was crashing. I am sure there are people confused about the fact that Derren managed to keep a man in a hypnotic state or maybe asleep for long enough to land the plane, get him to a simulator and begin the experience but remember what I have told you. The man is highly suggestible, he was in shock (he thought his plane was going to crash) and he had experienced this feeling a few times already over the previous few weeks – he was the hypnotist’s dream subject. Of course the man did it; he landed the plane safely although he was told exactly what to do step by step – perhaps, in reality, not as difficult as it sounds.

Over the month what Derren did was helped the man to see things from a different perspective. He helped the man to find the resources within himself to make the changes in his life. He helped him to see that risk isn’t always so bad and that things he may have feared in the past were not so scary. He helped him to have experiences that gave him good feelings (for example organising a street party), things like this would have made him want to go on and do more of the same to get the same good feelings. The hypnosis was just an add on, a bit of a helping hand if you like. Hypnotherapy is all about you finding the strength within yourself to make the changes you so desire.

All hypnosis is self hypnosis, you cannot be hypnotised if you do not want to be, I cannot make you do anything you do not want to do – however if it is something you want to do and you allow yourself to be hypnotised your brain will be ready and willing to accept those suggestions that are thrown at you. You too can start to make some amazing changes in your life, just like Matt from Derren’s show.

Size 14 trapped in a size 12 body ©

Sometimes when I tell people my clothes size – not that I do this often I must add, maybe just if they are buying me a top, or I’m ordering a t-shirt for a run perhaps – I tell them I’m a size 12 and immediately feel the devil on my left shoulder cackling “hahahaha you aren’t a size 12, you’re a size 14 really. You just want them to THINK you’re a size 12”. I feel like people are looking at me thinking is she mad – surely she is bigger than a size 12.

I, am a size 14 trapped in a size 12 body.

My brain tells me I’m a size 14 but my body shows otherwise. Since finding this revelation I have started to use it as metaphor in my work. Just yesterday I was speaking with a client. As a child she had a very poor standard of living. She was often hungry and didn’t have particularly nice clothes. Today she always looks beautiful; however she is that poor dishevelled child in the body of a lovely, bubbly beautifully dressed woman. If we live with something for too long, when we become what we want to be we can sometimes forget to leave behind the thoughts and feelings that came with what we were.

We feel what we are but others see what we are. Therefore, even though we may still feel how we used to look others are seeing what we are today. A little tip to leave you with – fake it; If you don’t feel the way you look pretend you do, other people won’t guess you are not quite as confident. It will make you feel better as you radiate confidence and happiness and reap the rewards that come with this. If this doesn’t help come and see me ;-)

©Copyright Juliet Hollingsworth 2010