Like most questions about ‘the best’ – the true answer is – the one that suits you the best for what you want to do.
Yes I know there are all the Internet and Magazine articles about the Absolutely Best; Car, Pizza, App, Haircut – but that’s just click-bait and marketing.
Plus of course, the question is badly framed – the only thing real thing that affects us is – what’s the best one for ME.
And like Pizza, Haircuts and Cars, hypnosis has a wide variety, because Hypnotists, just like the rest of us, like to mold their methods to what best works for them
So there are a variety of forms of Hypnosis out there – for all tastes. But more important there are many forms out there that reach people in different ways. We all absorb information and give trust in different ways.
If as a client you are asking what is the best form of Hypnosis for me – then it’s the one the Hypnotist that you have the best rapport with, uses.
If you are a budding Hypnotist asking what form of Hypnosis should I learn. I would say look at the two major forms, Ericksonian/NLP styles of stories and metaphor and Elman/Jerry Kein regression to cause forms of hypnosis. Do a little digging on the internet videos and curriculums and see which ones draw you in the most.
And go to Hypnosis Conventions. If you are in the US or Canada the two big Conventions are the NGH ( National Guild of Hypnotists) on the East Coast and HypnoThoughts Live on the west coast. Both in August of every year, but always on different weekends. Go and absorb as much as you can and then follow your feelings from there.
Then take a good certification course in the style that you are drawn to, and expand your knowledge as you practice.
For you guidance perhaps – we can break it down into two main streams of hypnosis. One form which is fast inductions and relatively short sessions and only usually one or two being needed for any given situation. This comes from Dave Elman. A Hypnotist in the 1950s who taught the medical profession how to treat everything from warts to stammering to, of course pain control, with hypnosis. He only taught in the Medical Community – which is where he believed Hypnosis was the most useful. He taught doctors how to have a patient in deep enough hypnosis to do the work within a maximum of 4 minutes.
Though to give background Dave Elman came from vaudeville and radio background – even writing a few songs with the great W.C Handy.
The other form of modern mainstream Hypnosis comes from Dr Milton Erickson, the other giant in modern Hypnosis a psychiatrist and psychologist who had a deeply intuitive mind when dealing with his clients. He believed that the story we tell ourselves is the story we live. Therefore we can effect change by changing the story we tell ourselves. Of course the stories are grooved deep into our psyche – and its Erickson’s genius and methods that made it all look so simple.
He also believed that the Mind loves to show us things in metaphors. So that things that may be beyond our consciousness to grasp, are revealed in stories and analogies.
Erickson also believed that the unconscious mind was always listening and that, whether or not the patient was in trance, suggestions could be made which would have a hypnotic influence, as long as those suggestions found resonance at the unconscious level.
So we can say- broadly speaking Erickson and Elman (note also perhaps Ormond McGill and Gill Boyne- both pioneers following the path of Dave Elman) are the two main branches of modern Hypnosis.
Standing aside from these two mainstream forms of Hypnosis is a more basic form – where there is only light hypnosis given and then direct suggestion offered. This is typically the form used with No-Smoking or Weight Loss and simple Self Hypnosis tapes and scripts. It is also the form of hypnosis typically that Doctors are ‘shown’ in medical school – thus giving them no real idea of what hypnosis is capable of.
From Erickson has also come what is called NLP – a method that Tony Robbins once embraced and then moved on from. NLP is also the basis for many sales courses.
Ericksonian Hypnosis however as a form is much broader and inclusive than NLP tends to be. But both use the concept of use of language and modeling behavior.
Dave Elman’s Hypnosis concepts of fast induction and regression was spread at the same time by Gil Boyne and Orman McGill – and then in the 70s and 80’s taken by Jerry Kein, who as a 13 year old begged Dave Elman to teach him hypnosis was taken The core of the Elman style of Hypnosis is what is called regression, or regression to cause. That is, leading the mind back to the ‘seed’ of the stress, anxiety or phobia, and then allowing that original cause to be examined by the adult in the chair, and understood, or rewritten as no longer a threat. No longer capable of having energy
Jerry Kein also used what is called Chair therapy and universal therapy – the core of both of those was to allow the client to give and accept forgiveness. A core teaching of just about every Human Religion or Spiritual Discipline. Forgiveness is not condoning. It is never about the transgressor, it is about you, the one forgiving. Its getting that transgressor off your bag, and moving on. Forgiveness in hypnosis is about setting the client free. The other party has nothing to do with it.
Hypnotists love to learn and they are always learning from each other. Hypnotists considered to be Great Hypnotists are not great just because of inherent talent or skill, nor because they care more deeply than anyone else. It’s those things and also that they have absorbed the learning and skills from the long line of Hypnotist Masters and Teachers that have come before.
We all stand on the shoulders of those who come before.