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Palo Alto School Representative

Center for training, intervention and research

Strategic systemic approach and hypnosis

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      • Medically trained hypnotherapist, Eva Houdebine combines hypnosis support and life's journeys.

      In this article, Eva Houdebine, medically trained hypnotherapist, shares her learning journey, where silence becomes an essential therapeutic tool, enabling deep connection and transformation in the patient. Through personal and professional exploration, Houdebine demonstrates how silence shapes the therapeutic space, paving the way for unexpected healing and self-discovery.

      What silence taught me

      What silence taught me

      At the beginning of my practice in hypnosis it seemed necessary to me to structure the session with a first part around the patient's anamnesis, a second part around induction and trance and finally the return of the hypnotic state with possibly a task prescription. In one or the other of the parties the use of speech was almost constant, with its share of strategic reframing, discriminating questions, metaphors. I also had the presupposition that he who is silent is he who does not know and that my position required me to know.

      My practice then evolved towards a more body-centered approach thanks to the associated practice of osteopathy, carried out by my partner, and hypnosis. We experiment with pair sessions that involve the care of tissues and that of thought. This triangular relationship allowed me to gain freedom in relation to the possibility of placing silences so that something else emerges. It is the presence of the bodies, both that of the patient and our own, which, by observing ourselves, opens the way to what is necessary in the moment. First of all, it is about being there, together, allowing the other to rely for a moment on this presence so that they can cross this void which precedes change. And this void is filled with silence. François Roustang describes this perfectly: “ But if the therapist remains silent, the patient is thrown into an anxiety of abandonment. It is therefore impossible to speak and not to speak (…) To get out of this dilemma, there is only one solution: to be physically present with such intensity and such freedom that the weight of presence becomes light (… ) From there a beginning of confidence can emerge and the word can circulate without too much danger ” (Roustang, 1988, p. 131).

      There are two dimensions to my observation of silence. Firstly, the part of the therapist who must deal with his own “ dissociated ” part of the therapy. In my case, it concerns the fear of not meeting the patient's expectations. “ What will happen if there is no change? » “ What can I say if I don’t know what to say or do? » “ How will the relationship evolve if I don’t respond to the request?” ". Indeed, very often, if not at every session, the therapist is confronted with this moment of uncertainty in which it is easy to get lost if we try to find our way. After listening to the patient's speech, which can sometimes be hypnotic, and letting the sensations of the story pass through us, it is possible to observe this particular moment of pause where everything or nothing can happen.

      At the beginning of my practice, this moment was fascinating although not tolerable. Indeed, wasn't it up to me to hold the frame? And to indicate the direction in which to turn?

      What the systemic approach also taught me

      The systemic approach allowed me to answer these questions by highlighting my own attempts at solutions. Faced with the fear of this moment of uncertainty, I avoided facing it by filling the silence with words. My practice changed from the moment I sat with this anxiety alongside my patients and let it pass through the space. Indeed, the first long silence that I introduced into a session was possible thanks to the presence of a third therapist. In this way, I was able to comfort myself with the idea that I could, for a moment, “pause” any desire or expectation for change because another person was taking care of the patient. This silence was liberating for the patient, for me as for Mikael the osteopath with whom I am experiencing this work. The rest of the session was very interesting and full of new experiences for the three of us.

      Observation 

      At a distance from this moment, observing this silence allowed me on the one hand to realize all the possibilities that it opens up to welcome this emerging moment. But also to question myself about my expectations. If Mikael was not there to act on the tissues or muscles, what could I rely on to feel comfortable in silence and let him act?

      This echoes what Antoine Bioy says, in an interview on uncertainty in care in his definition of the moment of uncertainty: “ uncertainty is the place and time of intuition. The space opened by uncertainty, and the moment of doubt that emerges on this occasion, open the possibility for a person to let themselves be guided other than by their reasoning, to forge an appropriate response. Let your sensoriality speak, help us build a new and creative path from the doubt that uncertainty brings .”

      At the heart of uncertainty

      At the heart of uncertainty 

      At the heart of uncertainty it is possible to want to cling to some knowledge, to past experiences, we could even be tempted to categorize the situation we are faced with in order to deal with it in our frame of reference. When this fear passed, all I could do was be there. This characteristic state that can be found in other contexts (meditation, sport, trance, prayer) has something special since it is in relationship.

      Something new, stripped of old thoughts, was able to emerge. Then like a gear that starts moving, the parts can fall into place and, driven by each other, allow the movement to resume.

      However, there is the “dissociated” dimension of the patient who will want to put an end to this silence. At the start of the follow-up it is this part which is expressed through the symptom presented and which is so dear to the consultant. We can then observe in the first moments of silence a certain discomfort which can result in nervous laughter, a change of position, an avoidance of gaze, etc.

      It is quite interesting to note the evolution of the way in which silences are traversed during treatment.

      Leaving space for this discomfort, perhaps even naming it or using it, proves even more relevant. As Dan Short points out on the subject of ambivalence, highlighting it allows us to cancel it. In addition, there is a form of recognition by the therapist of the patient in all his dimensions and a serene reception of these.

      The use of silences during trance seems to me a useful element towards triggering change. When during the first stages of establishing the relationship the silence is difficult to bear, it is not the same in a modified state of consciousness. Trance modifies the perception of time, so it becomes possible to make these silences last as long as the body experiences in a comfortable way. Thus the patient can go through this experience in all its dimensions through the body and no longer the dissociated part.

      By observing the journey through this full moment together, we will be able to anchor this new capacity to be in touch with the moment in relationship.

      There, here I am!

      The more the reassociation progresses in the identification of the therapist as a secure authorizing third party, the more the silences are tolerated and liberating. We now note an attunement during these moments in terms of breathing, body movements (yawning, legs uncrossing, repositioning). There is a modification at the level of the gaze where an exchange can be sustained without discomfort as described by Kaly Viollet: “This first time, more or less long, is for me a moment of intimate, rich and dense exchange and sharing, full of silent dialogue through the gaze and the body, of expressions, of feelings, of thoughts and silent questions. We just have to feel what is there and adjust to it, find our place there, tune in. »

      Little by little the possibility, the idea of ​​a “ There, we are there ” according to Jean Yves Leloup, in the idea that we are all connected and interconnected through our actions independently of their nature, is emerging. And this “ There I am ” takes place and settles down, this time with the intention that something greater is present in each of us and that it goes beyond the problematic context. It is possible to connect to it by being in the body and in the moment. Thus a reconnection to reality takes place excluding the expression of the symptom.

      Where to train in hypnosis?

      LACT offers several live certified web training courses with 50 international trainers.

      A team of more than
      50 trainers in France
      and abroad

      of our students satisfied with
      their training year at LACT *

      International partnerships

      The quality certification was issued under
      the following category of actions: Training action

      A team of more than
      50 trainers in France
      and abroad

      of our students satisfied with
      their training year at LACT *

      International partnerships

      The quality certification was issued under
      the following category of actions: Training action

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