A fob watch on a chain like those supposedly used by hypnotists


Look into my eyes….. you are feeling sleeeeeeepy…. very sleeeeepy….

I love the cartoon-ish image of the hypnotist who swings a fob watch and chain, and puts people into a trance against their will. It couldn’t be further from the truth of what authentic hypnotherapists do – in which every session is built on a completely trusting relationship between therapist and client.

However, there’s one interesting aspect of the hypnotist’s image that does have a grain of truth – the swinging watch.

No, I don’t have a fob watch and chain, and if I did I wouldn’t swing it around in front of my clients’ face when I’m working with them. But that doesn’t mean it’s a completely unfounded manoeuvre.

Sometimes, when I’m working with a client on a phobia, say, or difficult emotions, we often touch on something from their past which produces a strong emotional reaction. An old hurt, trauma or bereavement can be triggered even decades later and they become distressed.

There’s a way of working with the brain to pacify turbulent feelings. It involves asking them to watch my hand (no swinging watches, as promised!), as I move it around in front of their face.

The connection between emotion and memory runs between the right and left hemisphere of the brain. Simply by moving the eyes from right to left, the connection is confused – leaving the client free to work on today’s issues, without being held back by the emotions of their childhood.

Sometimes I like to add a very small EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) to this, by following up with a few taps on the cheekbone, just under the outside corner of the eye. EFT is a vast practice, but I’ve found adding a few small elements, where needed, to a hypnotherapy session, to be very useful.