Newspaper Article in the
Yellow Post January 11-17, 2008.
Interview of Dr Kamarul and reported by Priya Rama
When you hear the word hypnosis, you may picture the mysterious hypnotist figure popularised in movies, comic books and television. This ominous goateed man waves a pocket watch back and forth, guiding his subject into a semi-sleep zombie like state. Once hypnotised, the subject is compelled to obey, no matter how strange or immoral the request. Muttering “Yes, master,” the subject does the hypnotist’s evil bidding.
This popular representation bears little resemblance to actual hypnotism, of course. In fact, modern understanding of hypnosis contradicts this conception on several key points. Subjects in a hypnotic trance are not slaves to their “masters” – they have absolute free will. And they’re not really in a semi-sleep state – they’re actually hyper-attentive.
Our understanding of hypnosis has advanced a great deal in the past century, but the phenomenon is still a mystery of sorts. So, YellowPost spoke to Dr Kamarul Zaman Ahmad, a senior lecturer of the Faculty of Business and Accountancy, University of Malaya, who is also a Certified Trainer and Master Practitioner of Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP), Time Line TherapyTM (TLT) and Hypnotherapy, to look at some popular theories of hypnosis and explore the various ways hypnotists put their art to work.
YP: How did hypnotherapy come into practise?
Dr K: Hypnotherapy has been around many, many years and is becoming more and more popular in Malaysia. In the olden days, whenever there was a medical problem, people who didn’t want to go for conventional medical treatment usually opted for alternative treatment. That’s when hypnotherapy came into the picture.
YP: How did you get involved with hypnosis?
Dr K: My late father taught me hypnosis when I was only eight years old. That was my first introduction to hypnosis. However, I stopped putting it into practise when I reached my teens, until I attended Anthony Robbins’ seminar on Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP). Then I got back on track. I bought many books and CDs and at one stage, realised that I needed to know more about NLP. Robbins’ materials didn’t cover all aspects of NLP and I decided to go to the source, Dr Tad James who is a Certified Trainer of NLP and the inventor of Time Line TherapyTM (TLT). Thus, under him, I learnt NLP, TLT and Hypnotherapy. I attended the Practitioner, Master Practitioner and Trainer’s Training courses.
YP: Some people say that hypnotism is the work of the devil. Your comments …
Dr K: The Hollywood industry sometimes doesn’t do any favours for hypnosis because they give the illusion that hypnosis is evil and that it is related to witchcraft and spells. There are many misconceptions about hypnotherapy. Many feel that they will lose control when hypnotised. See, hypnosis is not about losing control. In fact, a person who is being hypnotised is merely following directions from the hypnotist and at all times, they are in control and they can choose to wake up whenever they want to.
Hypnotist is just a guide to help this person along the journey. They don’t have control over the person. The person being hypnotised knows exactly what is happening around them and are fully aware of what they’re doing. It’s just that they are in a heightened state of awareness and that allows them to do all these unbelievable things like walking on fire and broken glass, something that they’d never do earlier because they were limited by their beliefs.
Hypnotism as practised by the American Board of Hypnotherapy is very much into ecology. Whenever a person is in trance, whatever suggestion they make is only for the benefit of the person being hypnotised. The hypnotist cannot include other things for his own benefit. One thing about hypnosis is that you cannot make a person do something that is against their values. You cannot hypnotise someone and ask them to rob a bank for instance.
YP: Does it help in your daily work?
Dr K: Yes, in class, instead of just teaching academic theories, I incorporate elements of NLP into the lecture. For example under stress management, I have incorporated hypnotherapy as a means of managing stress, something that is not found in traditional academic textbooks. Therefore, I’m able to improve upon the weaknesses of the textbooks.
YP: Can people practise hypnotherapy without attending a course?
Dr K: Obviously there are books and CDs that they can use to practise. But there is a difference between just reading a book and attending a live seminar and going through the courses. It’s only by doing the latter you’ll know whether you’ve been hypnotised or not. My favourite activity is the full body where a person is suspended between two chairs and has somebody sit on them. No one can possibly do this without being hypnotised. This will prove to them that they have been hypnotised. And when you ask them to explain what they’ve experienced, they are usually speechless for about twenty seconds because that feeling is something they cannot put into words. It’s a feeling of inner peace or of power but not rigidity. It’s a supreme strength as a result of a flow of energy from within.
YP: How different is this as compared to yoga and meditation?
Dr K: There is definitely an overlap. For example in yoga, when one is doing body positions, they shouldn’t think about what’s happening at work or at home, rather they should concentrate on their body. This is where the element of hypnotherapy comes in.
YP: How do you get someone into a hypnotic state?
Dr K: Well, first of all, the person has to be willing and trust the hypnotist. Then, in less than five minutes, they are already in a hypnotic state. For people who are being hypnotised for the first time, they won’t actually know that they have been hypnotised. This is because they’d expect something different after hypnosis, but in actual fact, it is not much different from the normal waking state.
YP: What do you normally feel when hypnotised?
Dr K: Okay, for that we need to look at the brain waves. The human brain produces electrical activity that can be measured as brain waves. An electroencephalogram (EEG) measures brain waves in frequencies also known as cycles per second or hertz. The four different brain waves are:
-Beta State: When you are awake and doing your daily activities, your brain waves are operating in the beta state. Beta is the state of normal wakefulness. In beta, you are alert and wide awake. Your conscious mind is dominant. -Alpha State: When you close your eyes, become relaxed or daydream, your brain waves are in alpha. This is the brain wave state of heightened creativity and inspiration. When you engage in creative endeavours such as imagining or visualising, your brain waves register in alpha. Here, your conscious mind is less dominant and the subconscious mind is coming to the forefront. Alpha state is where your brain waves would register as when you go into a light trance (“you can go from light to medium to deep hypnotic state”). The subconscious or unconscious mind does not register the difference between imaginary reality and physical reality. It simply does what it is told, shown, or imagined until it becomes a habit. That is why hypnotic suggestions can have powerful effects in the alpha brain wave state. -Theta: when you are sleeping and dreaming, you are in theta and still relaxed”. -Delta: When you “go into a deep sleep, and totally unconscious”.
Hypnosis is not sleep or being unconscious. It is not being weak-minded. Some people resist hypnotism because they think they are strong-minded, so they can’t be hypnotised. It’s the reverse actually. People who are more imaginative are those who can be hypnotised easily. In fact, sometimes we even have to dehypnotise people.
YP: Dehypnotise people?
Dr K: Yes. I believe that people in general are already in a hypnotic state. See, many limitations have been implanted into our lives without us realising it. People who say, I cannot do this or that” constantly are already in a state of hypnotism. The negative thinking and beliefs are so strongly entrenched in us because of years of being hypnotised in a light hypnotic state.
YP: How can it happen without our knowledge?
Dr K: Have you ever been so mesmerised by a speaker at a seminar that you never realised how the time passed? If yes, you’re in a state of light hypnosis. But many of us don’t realise this. Sometimes when we move into another office or home, we start packing and get injured in the process. But because we are so absorbed in the packing, we don’t feel the pain until we relax or take a bath. It’s only then we’ll feel the sting. This is also a state of light hypnosis. So by dehypnotising people, we get them to relax, remove all the negative thinking and limitations and put in positive pictures of the future.
This is also how we can make people give up smoking, overcome fear of public speaking and fear of heights. We combine hypnosis with NLP and TLT to effect the changes. That feel that it’s always better to use more than one technique to treat people.
YP: So how do you make people stop smoking or overcome phobias?
Dr K: There are many ways to use hypnosis to give up smoking. What I do is to have the smoker think about the worst possible consequence of continuing smoking and the best possible consequence of giving up smoking. Usually, by imagining the latter, they’ll give up smoking. Likewise, whenever a person has a phobia, it is something he does to himself. What each person does on the inside is the root of the problem, not the environment.
The solution sounds simple but there are many combinations of techniques – NLP, TLT and Hypnotherapy – we need to use to make people stop smoking or overcome their phobias. It worked on one of my participants and it has been more than six months since he last smoked.
Hypnotherapy, Practitioner and Master Practitioner Certification
NB: As at 1st February 2014, these courses are NOW BEING offered by Dr Kamarul.
Outcomes: At the end of the two courses, the hypnotherapy practitioners will be able to deal safely, confidently and effectively with the enormous variety of presenting symptoms – psychological, emotional and physical.
As a practical programme the Practitioner Certification in Hypnotherapy is especially useful for people engaged in the 'caring / healing professions'. Health care professionals, doctors, teachers, managers in all fields, counselors, spiritual / reiki practitioners, social workers and therapists can usefully explore the practical applications of hypnosis within the spectrum of work they already do.
The Practitioner Certification course is actually a complete course in its own right. It has been seamlessly integrated with topics in Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) and Time Line TherapyTM (TLT) – and because it is taught simultaneously, it saves a lot of time. Yet it covers more material than stand alone hypnotherapy courses by integrating complimentary techniques in NLP & TLT. The structure of the course is designed to also provide you with powerful self-improvement techniques
This Practitioner and Master Practitioner course in Hypnotherapy are accredited by the American Board of Hypnotherapy and recognised internationally and taught by a Full-Time Professor of Management, Dr Kamarul, who also holds a PhD in Psychology at work from the prestigious Manchester Business School, University of Manchester, UK
The Practitioner certification course covers:
1) Background to hypnosis, what is hypnosis and what it is not.
2) Light and covert hypnotic techniques of Milton Erickson.
3) Eye closing
4) Arm catalepsy
5) Progressive muscle and body relaxation techniques
6) Full body catalepsy on yourself
7) Pendulum (digital)
8) How to use hypnosis in therapy and performance enhancement
However, we realise that in fact most of our students will not be engaged in therapeutic work but are more involved in coaching and performance enhancement. That is what our MASTER PRACTITIONER CERTIFICATION IN HYPNOTHERAPY is designed for.
The Master Practitioner Certification Course covers:
1)Direct Authoritarian Hypnotic Techniques of Estabrooks 2)Mixed method of Hypnotic Techniques of Elman 3)Deepening hypnotic induction techniques 4)Advanced pendulum work (analog) 5)How to do a full-body catalepsy on others. 6) How to use hypnosis in clinical settings, therapy and performance enhancement of adults and children
Teaching will be in the form of lectures, demonstrations and role-play. You will find ample time to practise every technique. Personal supervision and instruction will be done personally by Dr Kamarul.
The American Board of Hypnotherapy has a philosophy that we are responsible for our emotions, behaviours, thoughts and psychosomatic symptoms. The hypnotic therapeutic techniques taught enable practitioners to better assist others by helping them to understand and change their unhealthy emotional states, and self-limiting behaviours, into healthy emotional states and self-helping behaviours.
As a qualified Master Practitioner in Hypnotherapy you will have acquired the expertise with which to help relieve suffering and discomfort in others. Just as importantly you will also have understood that there are certain limitations to hypnotherapy. It is not our intention to replace doctors – but hypnotherapy is a tremendous asset in complimentary treatment when used appropriately. All students will fall under the code of ethics by the American Board of Hypnotherpy.
Prof Dr Kamarul trains his students to be competent, ethical and confident hypnotherapists, who can deal safely with the enormous variety of symptoms – emotional, psychological, physical and sometimes spiritual for which your patients / clients will seek your help.
In addition, the Prof Dr Kamarul actively conducts scientific research in hypnosis.
Dr Kamarul has always maintained a close and special relationship with his Practitioner students before, during and even after graduating. He has even assisted one of his graduates in obtaining part-time employment at the University of Malaya (the remuneration of which was more than 200% of the seminar fees!).