Author: David Kraft
It has been well documented that some people develop psychosomatic pain in order to not do something. This is called a secondary gain. For example, a man who is bullied at work may develop agoraphobia and feel unable to leave the house. Another example may include someone who experiences regular headaches at times when she is required to do unpleasant jobs for the family. By accessing unconscious resources, one may be able to resolve the psychosomatic symptom. Some therapists may ask the following question:
‘I am sure that you don’t want this symptom but there is perhaps something in your life which might benefit from this problem. If this symptom disappeared, would this cause a problem in any other aspect of your life? Would it cause you to lose something? Or, would it mean that you have to do something that you don’t want?’
A good way to resolve this is to negotiate with the client in hypnosis in order to try and find a way to achieve the secondary gain without the psychosomatic symptom (Williamson, 2012). This can be done by simply asking questions along the lines of, ‘What is this symptom doing for you?’, or ‘Is there something that the symptom offers for you, and stops you from doing something you really don’t want to do?’. Alternatively, therapists can access these unconscious mechanisms using Stanton’s Hands (Stanton, 1979; Williamson, 2004).
More generally, any imagery can be used in the hypnosis to help people to access their inner resources. One example is the pool metaphor. Here, during the hypnosis, the patient is asked to walk through a forest, noticing the sounds, colours and natural features around him. He is then given the opportunity to find a pool of water. In the pool, there are stones or pebbles which he can see. He is then asked to pick up one or two of the pebbles. This is set up as follows:
‘One of the pebbles that you can see represents a resource that will be helpful for you in your life…I don’t know which one it is…but you can see its quality which is always and already inside of you…and this you can touch in your hands in order to access these qualities…or resources that you need…and you can drop it back in the water or take it with you..but, whatever you do…you will be able to gain knowledge and ability from this resource…as you continue to grow and learn from this experience…’.
About the Author
David Kraft is a independent psychotherapist in private practice. He started working with his father, Dr Thomas Kraft, in 2002, and set up in Harley Street in 2008. Since then, he has successfully treated a huge number of clients with a range of psychological problems and concerns. David has an additional psychotherapy practice in Enfield town. David uses a multi-modal approach to therapy which incorporates brief solution focussed psychotherapy, psychoanalysis, counselling, behaviour therapy and hypnotherapy. He is a fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine and a member of council for the Section of Hypnosis and Psychosomatic Medicine. He is also a member of council for the British Society of Clinical and Academic Hypnosis, the only organisation in the country which only trains health professionals. Throughout the year, David is involved in training doctors, dentists and psychologists in hypnosis.
Appointments: 0207 467 8564/07946 579645