Recognize and Use Your Plus Factors
It has been said that elderly people are often poor subjects for hypnosis. This is not necessarily the case. Age tends to be more a state of mind than a condition of the body. The public abounds with people of senior years who run circles around their counterparts in mental alertness, memory, judgment, business and management abilities, writing or speaking. In some areas they can even excel at sports.
While we have large numbers of "young oldsters," there are many more who have reached the dignity of maturity who have the ability to think, act and look younger, but primarily lack the inner belief and motivation necessary to do so. A factor worth noting is that several of the world's most outstanding and skillful hypnotherapists are in their seventies, eighties and even nineties.
What Are The Problems
Seniors, for the most part, face the same problems that affect younger people. They have hopes and dreams and plans and when these falter or fail they are subject to anxiety, stress, depression, frustration and similar emotional difficulties. Older people have feelings and needs, which younger generations often do not realize. They are subject to hurt, anger, grief, resentment, etc., and react accordingly. They can fall in love, and when a relationship is ended either by choice or death, their pain is no less intense than tha
t of younger people.
For most of these problems, hypnotherapy is as appropriate and applicable as it would be for members of earlier generations. Seniors must deal with stress, habit control (overeating, smoking, alcohol, etc.), attitude adjustment, phobic reactions, fears of illness or loss of independence. As their earning days draw to a close, concerns over assets and liabilities as well as income stream enter the picture strongly.
For some seniors advancing years bring self-doubt-feelings that new trends and developments date them, place them behind the times. Scientific and technological progress is not understood, and not being conversant with modern times, seniors can feel, from the standpoint of communications, inadequate. Self-esteem and self-confidence go into a decline and those in this type of downtrend syndrome tend to feel they are no longer interesting to others. Withdrawal follows, accompanied by loss of the sense of self-worth, which increases withdrawal tendencies and enter into a cycle that can be psychologically devastating.
One by one activities are dropped; contacts with other people, whether family or friends, diminish. Often an unwarranted sense of being unloved and alone leads to discouragement and depression. Psychological and psychosomatic problems emerge. Deep loneliness, with no will to seek out companionship, can become an obsession.
It's All So Unnecessary
Hypnotherapy has some special capabilities in such cases. Attitude and behavior modification, the regeneration of self-esteem and self-confidence and motivation are necessary, and all are among the most beneficial therapies available through hypnosis. Clients can be brought to realize that they don't need scientific savvy to be interesting people. They can discover that younger generations have much to learn, and must of necessity turn to the 'older and wiser' seniors for information and guidance. They can uncover opportunities in part-time jobs or volunteer work that will quickly convince them that they are needed and have value. They can be motivated into getting back into circulation through contact with churches, innumerable organizations, hobby or special interest groups, where their help is invaluable and they re-experience appreciation. As all this takes place, self-esteem, confidence and motivation will increase dramatically, depression will fade, and smiles and joy will brighten in newly discovered usefulness.
Most hypnotherapy achieves success by focusing on one problem at a time. Dealing with what has been sometimes referred to as "The Fountain of Youth" program can take a broader approach in that while several elements can be involved they all add up to a single problem- feeling old.
As in all psychotherapy and hypnotherapy, the first step is the establishment of trust-development of a rapport in which the client is willing to listen without pre-established disbelief. It is possible, and even beneficial, to introduce the concepts of such a program in a group setting. Some members will respond more rapidly and with greater enthusiasm than others and the inter-communication will tend more to elevate the laggards than bring down those grasping the positive factors.
The intermingling of personalities likewise brings about what for some will be deeply needed elements of human contact. Those with positive reactions and those with negative outlooks will have opportunities to express their thoughts, and will find others willing to listen, since all are sharing the same experience.
Once participants become comfortable with human contact, hypnotherapeutic programming, either in individual or group format, can use regression to recall periods of high self-worth, bringing into memories successes of the past. Suggestions that recognition, appreciation and contribution are still possible, with illustrations of types of opportunities, can generate attitude changes from despair to hope.
With progress, of course, come increases in self-esteem and with contact comes the development of self-confidence. The powers of visualization can then be used to create mental pictures of success, achievement of goals, and new levels of acceptance and individual recognition of self-worth.
People who have mentally put themselves out to pasture can be motivated to feel, think, act and look younger, greeting an appreciative world anew and welcoming its challenges.
Content on this page ©1999 National Guild of Hypnotists, Merrimack, NH 03054