"What do you expect...?" by Mary Ratcliffe

Imagine there’s another person on the chair next to you, and that’s your subconscious mind

Let me start with a couple of introductions, or reminders if you already met them from the pages of my first book, my musings about the subconscious mind ‘What if it really is... ?’

Pat and Chris are old friends of mine and I’d lost touch with them both over the years, but we had got back together a couple of years after I qualified in Lesserian™ Curative Hypnotherapy (LCH). ‘What if it really is... ?’ includes my interpretation of LCH, the theory behind it and how it works with the subconscious for the benefit of the client. It also includes some personal information about treatment I’ve received and some of the differences that treatment has made to me and to my life.

What is LCH?
In case you’re totally new to LCH, this is just a very brief summary to help us get started. Much more detail will follow. LCH is a form of hypnotherapy where the therapist works with the subconscious mind to resolve the underlying cause of the symptom, condition or issue that the client consciously wishes to dispose of.

Just like the way the dentist focuses on fixing the tooth decay or gum disease or abscess that is causing the pain, the LCH therapist focuses on the subconscious cause of the habit or phobia or anxiety or whatever is bothering the client. Once resolved at the roots, the toothache or the client’s symptom tends to go away all on its own without any further need for pain-killers or other symptom-management.

Who are Pat and Chris?
Pat is considering training to be some kind of therapist and, so far, is finding LCH intriguing, has read the College’s prospectus, but is a bit nervous and would like a bit more help in the decision. A career change is a big one for anyone, so more information, as long as it’s honest and unbiased, can improve the likelihood that the best choice will be made in the long run. It’s not a deliberation to be rushed.

Chris is considering having some treatment for a fear of driving, a peanut allergy and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (O.C.D.) and again, a bit more accurate and wide-reaching information could lead to a more informed choice and a more beneficial outcome.

Pat and Chris are helping me get my thoughts and ideas together. We have just re-read  ‘What if it really is... ?’ and we are all wondering what has changed since then for all of us, and for the people I have treated. We also wonder what questions were raised and left hanging around, rather than answered or clarified there.

The two books are complete in themselves, each looking at the subject from a specific but different angle. If you haven’t read ‘What if it really is... ?’ then you might find questions forming in your own mind from this book because some of the foundation ideas are not explored in detail here. If your curiosity is aroused, your enquiring mind intrigued to look more into the theory, then ‘What if... ‘ is my first suggestion of where to look for some more food for thought.

Both books are written in an informal rather than an academic style, with no references, no index, no appendices and no footnotes. There is no single writing style that suits everyone’s taste or reading preference. You might want to read it as if it were a novel and simply allow the various messages to come through as they occur in the story.

If you’d prefer a bit more structure, to give you an idea of what’s to follow, we start with some general information about the subconscious mind and hypnotherapy. We then explore the experiences of 4 people who have received LCH therapy. At the mid-point, I digress into some details about my training and early years as a therapist. Following on from the 4 case studies, I look more deeply into the longer term effect the treatment I’ve received has had on me personally. We finish with a few questions we might want to consider for the future.

In ‘What if it really is... ?’, I refer to the people on the receiving end of treatment mainly as patients rather than clients.  There are various pros and cons of each reference and I don’t believe either is universally better than the other, so in the interest of balance, this time, Pat and Chris and I refer to those people mainly as clients.

What does a client need to know?
Pat:        How do you explain the subconscious to a new client? If they arrive with no knowledge of your work and your theories, if they haven’t read anything you’ve written and you only have about 30 minutes to get the whole idea across to them, what do you say? Let’s imagine someone coming to you for treatment, they just found you on the internet because they searched for hypnotherapy or hypnotherapist. Let’s imagine they don’t want to, can’t be bothered to, or don’t have time to read a book about it.

Me:        That’s quite realistic. It’s pretty much how it is for most of the people who come to me for treatment.  If anyone starts asking loads of questions, seems to be fired up with curiosity and intrigued by the subconscious mind and LCH, then I suggest they read my book. Those curious souls are in the minority, though. Most people don’t read it.

There’s quite a lot to take in, so I don’t explain everything all at once, but I need to make sure that I get enough information across in an accessible way in the consultation session so they have the best chance of making the decision that is right for them, the decision on whether to go ahead with treatment or not. Some of the other details can wait until session 2 or 3.

I start by finding out what they’ve sought out treatment for. I don’t explain much until I’ve got a fairly clear idea of what it is that’s bothering them and in what way they want things to improve.

Pat:        I could role-play for you if you like.
Me:        Ok, so how can I help you?
Pat:        I have a fear of feathers. I know they’re not dangerous, but they make me want to run away. I can’t bear to be in the room with them. I know it’s irrational but my heart pounds, my hands sweat, I feel faint and nauseous and will get away from them if I possibly can.
Me:        Ok. That’s enough for me to start my explanations. In a consultation, I’d be asking more questions but for this purpose, I don’t need to know anything else for now.

You said, “I know it’s irrational”. That’s a term that people often use for when something doesn’t seem to make sense.

Let’s just think about the mind for a moment. This fear of feathers exists in your mind but you don’t want it. You find it uncomfortable and inconvenient and as far as you know, there’s no risk of any kind of danger involved, but you can’t get rid of the fear. No amount of reasoning or willpower will take it away. You didn’t ever decide to create that fear. It just appeared one day or gradually developed over time.

To explain about LCH, I need you to think about the mind in very simple terms. Imagine it being composed of two parts, the conscious mind and the subconscious mind. It helps me to explain if you imagine the two parts are two people. You are the conscious mind and I’d like you to imagine there’s another person on the chair next to you, and that person is your subconscious mind.

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Read an extarct from Mary's previous book "What if it really is...?"

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