Learn to Communicate
One of the major problems in relationships is communication. Simply talking things out is an essential factor, but it is much more easily said than done. Why? The answer is that many people do not communicate effectively. It is not that they don't want to-they may desperately want to work out problems, explain viewpoints, and discuss differences. The problem may be that they cannot communicate because even with sensitive ears they cannot hear!
Most people fall into one of two possible categories of suggestibility-physical suggestibility or emotional suggestibility. Actually, every person has characteristics of both, but one or the other is usually stronger, or dominant. These characteristics have a great deal to do with how people hear.
While it may not be the best illustration, some hypnotherapy practitioners consider physical suggestibility to be some what parallel to an extrovert type of personality, while emotional suggestibility relates more to the introvert type. The point is that people tend to listen in accordance with their personality make-ups. People hear in the same manner in which they speak. Those with opposing types of suggestibilities have more difficulties with communication.
One couple recently came into a hypnotherapy office to discuss serious relationship problems. The husband proved to be a real loudmouth, shouting at his wife as well as the therapist. When his shy and gentle wife asked him if we could discuss this matter quietly, he simply continued to shout. He didn't hear her request. And she certainly was not hearing (in the sense of comprehending) his message. The therapist asked the husband to speak more softly. The shouting continued. Finally the therapist shouted in an equally loud voice: "Now just shut up for a while or get out!"
There was the possibility, of course, that the client would become angry, get up and walk out-a calculated risk. However the husband looked around sharply and asked 'Was I speaking too loudly?' He had no idea how he sounded. His nature was to speak loudly, and when his wife (trying to avoid what she felt would be a confrontation) failed to reply, he assumed she was not hearing him and shouted even more loudly.
Suggestibility Can Be Altered
After explaining the communications problems-the wife could not respond to loudness and the husband was indifferent to softer language-the two were hypnotized sitting side by side. They were regressed to the early days of their marriage, allowed to feel again the sensations, caring feelings and love that existed in the beginning. They were programmed to understand and even modify their modes of listening and communication. Finally, under hypnosis, the husband was instructed to reach over, take his wife's hand, while both of them re-lived the experience of early love.
The hypnotherapist estimated that five or six sessions would be necessary to resolve the feelings, modify the suggestibility and establish solid communication. The clients canceled their second appointment, advising that they had re-discovered each other, and considered the problem resolved.
It is important to remember that each person receives messages in much the same mode that is used to send them. Considering the attraction of opposites, it is not to be unexpected that physically suggestible people often marry emotionally suggestible partners. As the initial newness and tenderness fades with passing time, the tendency grows to revert to the mode which is characteristic for the suggestibility type. Communication problems become virtually inevitable. Problems understandably can increase further with the realization that people, in addition to physical or emotional suggestibility, are affected by the existence of physical and emotional sexuality.
Sexuality vs. Suggestibility
Suggestibility reflects learning characteristics. Sexuality reflects performing characteristics (sexual or otherwise). Where partners have apparent sexual incompatibility, an evaluation of sexuality type is warranted. Where the types of sexuality differ dramatically, response tendencies tend to create problems.
In the effort to avoid hurt, confusion or conflict, an individual may consciously alter either sexual or suggestible behavior and develop incongruent behavior (where suggestibility is in the unnatural position of being opposite to the person's sexuality). This can create confusion and communication breakdown resulting in severe relationship conflicts plus inner turmoil within the individual exhibiting the incongruent behavior.
Hypnotherapy can measure both sexuality and suggestibility, and where differences are relatively minimal; partners usually will have enough flexibility to maintain balance and communication through periods of stress or upheaval. Where one partner, for example, is 80% physical and the other is 80% emotional, difficulties are reasonably predictable.
Therapy may consist of measuring suggestibility and sexuality, seeing partners individually at first. Otherwise the participants may disagree on the evaluations, since they will see responses differently. Subsequently the partners may be seen together, at which time suggestibility and sexuality may be explained, so that partners understand why they see or hear things differently, discussing the literal style of communication of the physically suggestible and the inferential style of the emotionally suggestible.
Hypnotherapy can bring understanding of relationship communications, awareness of the possibilities of modifications of attitudes and suggestibilities and sexualities, and the importance of and need for creating feelings of confidence and security in and regarding the relationship itself.
Content on this page ©1999 National Guild of Hypnotists, Merrimack, NH 03054