A Book Review by Tim Brunson DCH
If you are a clinician serious about offering a weight reduction program and you have only one book in your library, Judith Pearson's The Weight, Hypnotherapy and YOU Weight Reduction Program must be it. This is the comprehensive A-to-Z manual for handling clients who are suffering from our present obesity epidemic. Based upon recent secondary research, Dr. Pearson has compiled the best "how to" guide for clinicians that I've seen for quite some time. This book provides a turn-key guide complete with protocols, scripts, a limited explanation of various NLP techniques, and even provides a CD with client handouts.
As she quickly points out, her program is for clinicians who are qualified in hypnotherapy and Neuro-Linguistic Programming. I agree. Those who attempt to apply her multi-session program without adequate training could do a disservice. On the other hand, rather than qualification, she prefers to use the term "certification." Considering the lack of standardization in hypnotherapy certifications, which range between 20 and 300 hours, and NLP certifications, which range from quickie "listen-to-my-tapes-and-come-to-my-ten-day-class" to tedious nine month courses, I'm afraid that there is too much divergence to use certification as the only qualification gauge. Nevertheless, I think we are in basic agreement. Also, I applaud her suggestion about working (or at least starting by working) under supervision.
While her program, which she names "WHY" as an acronym of her title, is an eight session program, she is not necessarily insisting that practitioners become locked into her specific treatment structure. She admits that various clinicians may want to vary their protocol in order to accommodate different skill levels and additional training. Furthermore, she fully addresses how to safely deviate from her methodology should the clinician detect an additional pathology or co-morbidity that needs to be addressed immediately. Considering this flexibility, I feel that her core concept of a multi-session program using a mixture of hypnosis and NLP is both valid and sound.
Dr. Pearson's book reeks of professionalism and ethical considerations. As it should! It is apparent that she is a "been there, done that" type of clinician who writes and speaks from a level of authority that can only come from extensive experience. Indeed, her anecdotal success stories reflect well on her sincerity and competence.
Despite my rave support of this must have book, I have just a few of observations that one might consider. First (and rather trite) is that I wish that she had chosen a better title. I'm of the belief that a great book such as this should have a catchy title of no more than four words. On the other hand, the book does have what appear to be two great subtitles on the front cover. Secondly, in her excellent appendices she backs up her recommended therapeutic structure with citations of well respected research. While I know that these reflect the current attitudes toward hypnosis research, such endeavors tend to treat hypnosis as a monolithic, independent variable rather than a complex field with several valid schools of thought and a multitude of techniques. Lastly, I must point out that I take exception to her comment that Ericksonian Hypnotherapy is the most common methodology. This may be true among the Ericksonians in ASCH. However, there are many hypnosis skills beyond Ericksonian and Guided Imagery. Unfortunately, too much research has been traditionally limited in the choice of interventions, concepts, and scope. Regardless, this point is not a criticism of Dr. Pearson's wonderful book, but rather of the current state of hypnosis research.
While there are several successful, multi-session weight reduction programs in the realm of hypnotherapy and NLP, this book most definitely sets the standard for clinical "how to" manuals. It will be difficult for any serious clinician to read this book without leading them to re-evaluate their practice.