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What is hypnosis?
Hypnosis is a safe, natural state of focused consciousness that results in an unusual openness to change or suggestion. It is really just a deep learning state. We experience it many times a day throughout our lives - we just don't call it "hypnosis" because it's just the way we are. Typically, when we use the word "hypnosis" we are referring to a deliberately-induced state of elevated openness to suggestion. Christian Skoorsmith will assist you in learning how to achieve this state by guiding you into it. You will know you are hypnotized and be amazed by the power of your own mind.
Once this has been achieved, you will then receive what are called hypnotic suggestions. These suggestions will enable you to use the power of hypnosis in your life and make the changes you desire.
Hypnosis is a tool that can help you, just like it has helped millions of other people to take back control of their lives.
Hypnosis can help you change old habits and to provide you with motivation to do the things that you may have been putting off.
Hypnosis has been sanctioned and used by the medical community since 1958 to help patients overcome chronic pain, create anesthesia, and heal psychogenic illnesses.
Hypnosis and self-hypnosis have been shown to be effective in reducing stress and stress-related illnesses, reduce or alleviate pain, and provide a context for insightful understanding of oneself, along with the ability to deeply "reprogram" one's expectations and behavior.
Is hypnosis safe?
Hypnosis is safe and natural. It is very similar to experiencing a daydream. Usually you will feel relaxed when doing hypnosis.
Hypnosis in and of itself is a very pleasant experience. It is a time to let go of the other thoughts of the day and focus on the issues you came in to work on.
Scientists, medical professionals, psychologists and hypnotherapists have been using hypnosis for over 200 years and no one has ever been hurt by simply going into hypnosis.
Can I be hypnotized?
You already have been! It’s easy to go into hypnosis and it is a normal state of mind that everyone has already experienced. You can't be human and not be able to experience hypnosis.
In fact, hypnosis is such a normal state of mind, most people usually don’t even realize that they are hypnotized.
Normal, everyday hypnosis occurs, for instance, when you are focusing on a book or television program and you don’t even notice something that is going on around you.
To achieve a therapeutic level of hypnosis, all you need is to be able to follow instructions and want to be hypnotized.
What are Christian's credentials?
Christian Skoorsmith is a highly qualified professional. He is Board Certified by the National Guild of Hypnotists, the oldest and largest hypnosis organization in the world. He is also Registered with the State of Washington as an authorized Hypnotherapist.
In addition, Christian has achieved extra certification in the advanced hypnotherapy system called "Five Phase Advanced Transformational Hypnosis" (or 5-PATH®), as well as 7th Path Self-Hypnosis. He is a member of the International Association of Hypnosis Professionals (IAHP). Additionally, Christian has received training and certification in hypnosis with transgender clients, hypnosis and tinnitus, and hypnosis and pain management. Rest assured that he will treat you with respect, and that your visits are completely confidential.
Christian is a regular contributor to both The Journal of Hypnotism (NGH) and the 5-PATH Journal (IAHP). He is a sought-after speaker on hypnosis, and is adjunct faculty at the annual NGH international hypnosis education conference. He serves on the board of the IAHP, and has received the IAHP Self-Hypnosis Instructor of the Year award (2021) and is the inaugural awardee of the IAHP Science award for evidence-based contributions to the profession (2021). Christian was recognized for excellence in hypnosis by the Cascade Hypnosis Center in 2019, and was named one of Seattle's "Top 3" hypnotists in 2019, 2020, and 2021. Christian also published a training curriculum for hypnotists wanting to work with tinnitus in early 2021, and his first book on hypnosis ("Transformation Trance Formation") was published later that year. A second book on hypnosis, "Dynamics of Hypnosis", will be released early 2022.
What is 5-PATH®?
by Christian Skoorsmith (2021)
In my practice I work from a broad, evidence-based paradigm, and I lean heavily on the structure provided by 5-PATH®, a systematic approach to hypnosis that is both organized and organic, prepared and versatile. Typically, I encourage my clients to not build too many expectations about (or for) our sessions, and instead simply try to be entirely present in the moment, focused on what we’re focusing on, to get the most out of our work. Leave the over-arching structure to me – that’s my job – allowing the client to simply experience the experience wholeheartedly. Afterwards, we can dissect what happened in the session, why we did what we did, when and how… if that interests them. Typically, my clients are more interested in the results, and as long as we’re getting them, the “how” isn’t a priority. But some clients, understandably, want to know more beforehand.
There is a balance to knowing more. We want to know enough to help dispel any concerns or fears, but we don’t want to know so much that we create concerns or fears. If we go in for knee surgery, for example, we might be interested in the broad strokes of what will happen, and what to expect in recovery, but we probably wouldn’t be served by knowing the kind of scalpel to be used, the exact musculature to be cut through, the technique of sawing off bones, and so on. Some things are best left to the doctor to know, so we can focus on what we need to focus on. So, having said all that, I offer here a general introduction to the 5-PATH® approach, focusing on what might be good for a client to know beforehand. Fundamentally, however, it is important to let the hypnotist lead the experience, and not hold particular assumptions or expectations that might distract from the work needing to be done.
5-PATH® is an acronym for Five-Phase Advanced Transformational Hypnosis. It was developed in the early 1990s by Cal Banyan, a leading authority on hypnosis that works, and it continues to be refined by him and the hundreds of 5-PATH® hypnotists working today. It continues to be revised as more research, experience, and understanding arises. 5-PATH® does not introduce or create any new or special hypnotic technique, per se. There is no specific thing a “5-PATHer” does that couldn’t be done by another hypnotist. The strength of 5-PATH® is how it systematizes and organizes the work done with clients, to dramatic effect. Few other approaches to hypnosis pay as much attention to the intentional construction of the work as a whole, and that is one reason why 5-PATH® works so well.
As is implied by the name, it is structured as a series of “phases” (not necessarily equivalent to “sessions”), each building on the skills and insights achieved in the previous phases. In this way, the work progresses through a known and efficient structure, with the specific content provided by and unique to each client. What distinguishes 5-PATH® from most other approaches to hypnosis is that each phase or step is qualified: we must do the work that needs to be done before moving on. In 5-PATH®, there are clear and specific benchmarks at each step that lets us know if we have done the work (achieved the insight, made the change, transformed ourselves), or if (and what) we need to revisit.
How those insights are achieved varies from phase to phase, session to session, and to some degree client to client. Everyone is an individual, with their own experiences and assumptions and issues to deal with. But we are also all human, so there is a great deal of shared underlying programming and experience. While the client’s own subconscious provides the specific content, it is profoundly useful to have a theoretical orientation that recognizes (and makes use of) the structure of our underlying programming. 5-PATH® is an advanced form of hypnosis, requiring specialized training, so there is a great deal of specificity and nuance at each point along the journey, but it all serves merely to provide a catalyst and opportunity for the client to make the necessary changes they desire.
Broadly, the structure of 5-PATH® builds on itself as it goes. The first “phase”, for instance, establishes trust, understanding, and appropriate expectations. One should feel calm, comfortable, and confident – confident one can “go into” hypnosis and confident that this is going to work for them. This is achieved by instruction and orientation, a short experience in hypnosis, and a debrief about that experience. We might also introduce a specific self-hypnosis technique and practice that as well. Typically this is completed by the end of the first session, laying the groundwork for all the work to follow.
Each session thereafter will include a brief check-in and then the bulk of the time spent working in hypnosis. Induction into the hypnotic state is achieved with modern methods that are both simpler than and more efficient than the “traditional” or “classical” or “Hollywood” techniques of swinging pocket watches, spinning spirals, or flashing lights. At all times the client is awake and aware of what is going on. Since this work is insight-based, the insights are those of the client (not the hypnotist), so it is important that the client is aware of them. 5-PATH® is a much more interactive and engaging approach to hypnosis that one might expect, especially if their previous experience is more like guided meditations, recordings, or Hollywood depictions.
At each phase – and at multiple points in each session – 5-PATH® provides a framework for a particular experience or work to be done. As I said, the specific content, dynamics, and “work” is provided by the client, and is specific to them. These “frameworks” might be working with memories, coaching a younger self, experiencing future or expected events in new ways, examining relationships (with others or oneself) and bringing new insight to bear on them – changing some relationships or dynamics, letting others go. Every technique, framework, or step is grounded in solid, healthy, current psychology. Knowing the specific technique being employed at any given time is not as important as the disposition of the client to genuinely engage themselves in what is going on at that moment.
5-PATH® is so much more than mere visualization or unstructured “journeying.” The client is shepherded through a specific, intentional, organized series of experiences that, in succession, address and change the programming underlying many of our distracting behaviors, coping mechanisms, reflexive reactions, or implicit presumptions. In this way we do not simply address the symptom-behavior, but critically engage fundamental mental-emotional programming that gives rise to those symptom-behaviors/experiences. 5-PATH® is a profoundly different way of approaching work in hypnosis, and profoundly effective.
In short, I do 5-PATH® because it is so powerfully effective. If I find another approach that is more efficient or effective, I will do that. But so far, nothing has been as consistently transformative for my clients as this approach. I invite you to join me in making your mental and emotional health a priority, and I look forward to the opportunity to talk with you about the change you want to make.