In our Hypnotherapy Training, the Initial Consultation involves about 10 minutes of information gathering. We ask our clients a few pertinent questions that rather quickly gives us a picture of the client’s stress levels. We go onto discuss these later in the first meeting.
Probably the most telling questions we ask revolve around sleep. The majority of our clients will report that they have trouble getting off to sleep at night. Perhaps they wake up too early, or they have trouble getting out of bed in the morning.
The value and importance of getting a good night’s sleep cannot be underestimated. We explain why this is so in the Hypnotherapy Initial Consultation.
The Stress Bucket
We use the metaphor of the ‘stress bucket’ – a place where we store all our negative thoughts that come into our minds during the day, or things from the past that have not been resolved. Some are big things that could have severe consequences but the small things also go in there. Some of these things we just make up in our minds, negatively forecasting what might happen in the future. The more we have in our stress bucket, the more negative we get and the more we tend to pile things into our stress bucket. So, we can get into a bit of a vicious cycle.
When we are asleep at night, our brain is actually working quite hard to empty the stress bucket. During a particular phase of sleep, REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep, the brain examines those unresolved issues of the day and takes away the emotional content. By morning, we may have forgotten the argument we had with the boss that day, or we may be thinking “I don’t know why I got so wound up about that”.
REM sleep makes up only part of our sleep cycle and it can run out if the bucket is full or overflowing, and this in turn can cause early morning wakening. REM sleep also uses up a lot of energy, so we can wake up feeling tired and a bit fed up.
Keeping the Stress Bucket Empty
With Solution-Focused Hypnotherapy, we encourage the client to think in a more positive way, so that the ‘stress bucket’ does not fill up so easily. We can also improve on the client’s REM sleep by providing them with a relaxation download to listen to as they go to sleep. The relaxation download acts like an extra boost of REM sleep, assisting the brain in emptying the stress bucket.
So, by putting less negative stuff in the bucket, and having more ‘bucket emptying’ going on during sleep, the bucket starts to empty and the client begins to sleep better and to feel better too. One of the first positive outcomes the client will see when having Solution Focused Hypnotherapy is usually this improvement in sleep.
Our students on the training course can also see this in their volunteers in the very early days of their training. This early positive change is really motivating for the client volunteer, and of course, the student.