(This blog was originally posted on June 20, 2016)
|Photo by Rick Hustead|
A couple of months ago, the topic of punctuality and attendance came up at the business luncheon I attend each week. It was a relevant topic, because when an unexpected issue comes up at work or home it may be necessary to miss that week’s meeting. Perhaps it is an urgent problem at work that needs to be addressed or a child has to be taken to the doctor, etc. Or, a network partner has a long-planned vacation and will be away. Her car broke down. His dog got out. The hairdresser was late finishing the previous appointment before mine….
Tardiness and absences from a business-networking meeting can be inconvenient for various reasons, such as walking in late when a presentation is underway or having fewer members available to make referrals. As a certified hypnotherapist, I am very interested in and concerned about my clients’ reasons for being late or missing the appointment/last-minute cancellation because this reveals a lot about their motivations for and subconscious commitment and resistance to their therapy.
According to John Kappas, Ph.D., resistance to changing a behavior is the first stage of effecting this change. “We do things systematically to avoid change,” said the founder of the Hypnosis Motivation Institute. “Change is a threat to the unconscious mind.”
For example, being late to the first-ever hypnotherapy session with me to overcome procrastination and constant tardiness says a lot about that person’s subconscious mental script. Even though the client consciously wants to change this behavior, it is so familiar, comfortable and known that the subconscious mind is not going to change without a metaphoric “fight,” i.e., hypnosis. Or this person may mistakenly get on the wrong freeway and drive 30 miles the wrong way before realizing the mistake and making his way to my office an hour late (and having completely missed) the session. I typically call or text my clients the night before to remind them about the appointment; if someone is already 15 minutes late I will call to check in and make sure the individual is 1) okay/healthy and 2) still planning to come in. If so, once the client arrives at my office one of the first things I would explore is what the person thinks/believes the subconscious mind was trying to tell them. Slipping into a state of environmental hypnosis out of anxiety or nervousness about going in for the first-ever hypnotherapy session could be a given explanation. But another, equally strong subconscious motivation for being late is resistance to changing the behavior—even a behavior that the person has repeatedly insisted that he wants to change.
I understand resistance. I also know how to help individuals break down this subconscious resistance to replace an unwanted behavior with a wanted/more acceptable one in hypnotherapy. To change an unwanted behavior, however, it is as important to go for the cause of that behavior as it is for the person to be motivated to make the change. While this is principle does not exclusively apply for dealing with consistent tardiness, late-cancellations or “no-show” clients, their resistance to making a consciously desired change is very obvious.
Sara R. Fogan, C.Ht. is a certified hypnotherapist based in Southern California. She graduated with honors from the Hypnosis Motivation Institute in 2005. For more information about Calminsense Hypnotherapy® and to set up an appointment, please visit http://www.calminsensehypnotherapy.com/.