Tim Brunson DCH

Welcome to The International Hypnosis Research Institute Web site. Our intention is to support and promote the further worldwide integration of comprehensive evidence-based research and clinical hypnotherapy with mainstream mental health, medicine, and coaching. We do so by disseminating, supporting, and conducting research, providing professional level education, advocating increased level of practitioner competency, and supporting the viability and success of clinical practitioners. Although currently over 80% of our membership is comprised of mental health practitioners, we fully recognize the role, support, involvement, and needs of those in the medical and coaching fields. This site is not intended as a source of medical or psychological advice. Tim Brunson, PhD

Three Requirements of Efficient Transformation

by Tim Brunson, PhD

When a person or organization becomes dissatisfied with the current condition of their heath, happiness, or detect that they are not reaching their potential – provided that there is sufficient motivation – then transformation is pursued. However, the probability of achieving rapid, substantial, and lasting change is not always assured. The lure of returning to the old status quo is often too great – despite the often extremely negative consequences. However, both throughout history and in contemporary times there have been and are countless examples of those who have mastered the art of change. Over the past 30 years I have been a student of this topic. As a result I have concluded that those who achieve change to the point of realizing mastery have three requirements in common. These involve effective modeling, following efficient methods, and pursuing change with a sense of purpose.

Effectively modeling the behavior of others is the key to transformation. This is especially true when it comes to acquiring a new skill or honing a particular talent. When we observe, listen to, or sense the expert performance of others, it is natural for our brain to begin replicating what we perceive. Attributes, such as the relatively recently discovered mirror neurons, result in a morphing process. Those with whom we associate or experiences with which we fill our minds quickly begin shaping our neurological functioning. To a very significant extent, this is also true within our bodies as well. Essentially as humans we not only empathize with those around us. We also tend to mimic people to the point that in many ways we become them. This concept is a key to our understanding of empathy, language acquisition, and skill development.

The concept of modeling refers to more than just behaviors. Health is also a factor. For example, there are certain illnesses, which tend to propagate more frequently within certain communities and cultures. Although viruses spread more quickly within close-knit communities, I think that it is much more than that. Members of certain cultural or racial groups, who have immigrated to entirely different continents, often continue to experience high levels of certain diseases common to their original association as compared to those who are dissimilar despite the loss of the close proximity of their traditional kin. If modeling is a factor in illnesses, shouldn't also be a factor in achieving health.

One rather controversial – and extremely intriguing – aspect of health-related transformation involves site-specific somatic healing. In these situations, patients have proven to accelerate the healing of wounds, such as those resulting from surgery or bone fractures, merely by visualizing that the affected area has returned to the desired state. In these cases, they are not modeling the behaviors or conditions of others. Rather, they are using their imagination to create an illusion of healing to which their body is entraining.

Any coach, trainer, or clinician knows that some techniques are more effective than others when attempting to achieve a desired change. Once a person or organization begins desiring an alternative, finding the most efficient method is critical. Of course, the problem is that our minds, bodies, and organizations are by their nature designed to resist change. Thus, overcoming such resistance is a vital part of any methodology.

Hypnotherapists have found that their skills are particularly well suited to fulfill the need for effective and efficient change. This is because the first thing that hypnosis accomplishes is to mitigate resistance. Recent neurological studies have also implied heavily that the act of being hypnotized actually inhibits the parts of the brain that emphasize stability. When this is coupled with the effective use of modeling, change typically occurs more rapidly. Likewise, through repeated use, our brain and body develop new neural networks, new muscle tissue, and experiences other physiological alterations at a faster pace. When done so effectively, the subject is well on his or her way to achieving what is commonly called mastery. Just think what this means to the weekend golfer who desires to swing like the club's pro.

About twenty years ago a Neuro-Linguistic Programming instructor from Florida encouraged me to mentally decide on my intent prior to beginning to read a book. She said that doing so would help accelerate my reading speed and improve my comprehension. This idea – that of establishing a compelling purpose – should be an integral component of every transformational endeavor. This creates positive expectation and immediately accelerates how we use our minds and bodies. Thus due to the brain's natural tendency to simulate and anticipate, this step makes the transformational efforts more efficient.

Linking a compelling purpose to the desired change works even better when it involves pleasing or benefitting others – rather than merely serving oneself. I can immediately think of countless examples. During my military career I learned that soldiers will fight harder to save their buddies than to protect their own lives. Highly competitive football players will put more effort into winning a game in order to please their coach and fellow players. Mothers will perform physically impossible feats to save a threatened child. Essentially, we typically will put more effort into serving others than at times when we are the sole beneficiary.

People and organizations will generally achieve much more when their desired goal has something to do with their connections with others. (This is a factor that is directly involved with the rapid successes of companies involved with social media.) This should not be surprising. When a person feels more nurtured and connected to others, the brain's limbic system produces increased levels of oxytocin, which is a neurotransmitter that is directly involved with learning. Oxytocin affects the ability for neural pathways to disconnect. This allows us to weaken the hold that habitual behaviors have on us as we seek to achieve new, more desirable patterns. This should not be surprising as most certainly you are willing to pursue goals if you feel loved, connected, and supported. Therefore, dedicating your transformational efforts to helping or benefiting others is a very important technique when it comes to facilitating rapid change.

Despite desires to cling on to the past, whether we like it or not the constant necessity to change is the essential feature of not only our personal and organizational lives, but that of nature itself. By making the decision to control the pace and characteristics of the process, we begin to develop the power of choice. This allows us to perform the role of being the creator – rather than the victim – of our lives. Once a deliberate program of change has been set upon, becoming an expert in the use of models and methods, and the setting of compelling purposes, will make all the difference as to whether you achieve change masterfully or with mediocrity.

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