Hypnosis in Coaching | Psychology of Life Coaching Part 2

This is the second episode in our 6-part series on the Psychology of Coaching. We are exploring the models of psychology used most in personal development and how they each create change. Listen in as we uncover the benefits and limitations of each model to reveal which coaching styles create deeper, lasting change. This series will help you understand your options for personal growth and how to choose the right coach training.

In this episode we discuss:

  • What is hypnosis or trance state?
  • How the practice of hypnosis can create change in your life.
  • The three types of hypnosis that every coach should master for ultimate success.
  • The power of mental imagery, visualization, and meditation.

Join us for the next LIVE Soul Session.

Hypnosis in Coaching | Psychology of Life Coaching Part 2


Debra Maldonado  00:02

Hello, everyone, welcome to Soul Sessions, our weekly podcast.

Robert Maldonado  00:06

Yeah, today we’re talking about meditation, visualization, and your favorite, my favorite — hypnosis.

Debra Maldonado  00:14

And this is part two of a six part series on the psychology of life coaching. And we’re so excited to be here to give you this series, I think that I’m learning a lot just pulling your brain about some different psychological methods that people use in therapy and just research and how people work with psychology and social media and business. And also obviously coaching. And we wanted to just kind of talk about how a lot of people have done a lot of personal development, just kind of clarifying what method and methodology you’re using, what philosophy you’re using, and the differences between them and making sure you’re using the method that is where you want to go.

Robert Maldonado  01:04

Yeah, one of my teachers used to tell me, there’s only one subject, and that subject is the mind. So yeah, there’s a lot of different models, a lot of different ways to approach the mind in both therapy and coaching. But like you were saying, in business, education, social media, everyone needs to use some kind of psychological model. And some, even if they don’t know it, they’re using a certain approach to the mind. So we wanted to talk about what are the models out there? What did they imply? What are their strengths, and what are their limitations.

Debra Maldonado  01:48

And I love talking about hypnosis today. Because this is really where — well, not really where I got started, I started doing energy work, I actually went to massage school. Initially, I was in a corporate job. And I was trying to find— I wanted to help people. And I didn’t know what I wanted to do. So I went to massage school. And then one of the classes in massage school, we had to do energy work. And I loved it, I felt so intuitive. And I was feeling like I’m working with a deeper part of a person than just their physical— like muscles being stretched. And that’s when I started dabbling into the idea of energy work and the chakras and what that is, and then I just still felt like, I didn’t have the psychology around it, like I wanted to work with what is the mind. And when I went to my intro to the hypnotherapy class, the guy was showing me the conscious and the unconscious, and I said “Oh, now I get what I’m doing with the energy.” And it just kind of gave me a deeper understanding. And then I did hypnosis for a couple years, well, about two years, and then I met you. And then you introduced me to Jungian psychology.

Robert Maldonado  03:05

The joke is that I let her hypnotize me. And I’ve never been the same since.

Debra Maldonado  03:10

So if you’re like me, you kind of are exploring, you know, your spirituality or the mind, and, you know, being introduced to all these methods, and you’re probably wondering how they all fit together. So that’s what this series is about, it’s helping. But what I love about hypnosis is not the— you know, I love that it’s very powerful. There’s a lot of research, there’s a whole division in the psychological association around hypnosis. And so I want to start with and then we’re going to talk about visualization and meditation. But let’s start with hypnosis and Freud. And he was the one who really brought it to— there was people dabbling in it, but Freud really started to explore it in a deeper way, in a more scientific way.

Robert Maldonado  03:57

Right. So, turn of the century, 1900s, Freud puts out his famous— now famous book, at that time it only so like 1000 copies or so. But — “The Interpretation of Dreams”. And if you went to Freud at that time and you sought out his services, hypnosis was one of the big ways he worked with his patients. Hypnosis was the rage at that time, it was big in all of Europe, and in the Americas. And by and by, as he developed his psychoanalytic theory, he dropped hypnosis as a way of working and there’s different ideas as to why he dropped it. But if you look at his career overall, I would say he dropped it because he was trying to develop something original. Hypnosis was already kind of associated with other people like Charcot in Paris and those kind of people. So he wanted to put his stamp on something new, and rightly so. So he developed his talking cure, which is, you know, his brand of psychotherapy.

Debra Maldonado  05:22

And actually, that’s very interesting because I want to talk about just hypnosis in general and what it is, it’s actually— it’s a technique, but what it really is, is a state of mind. It’s an altered state that your mind goes into. A lot of times we’re in, like I say, you’re probably hypnotized right now, we’re in a hypnotic state a lot during the day, we’re, you know, when we do repetitive tasks, right before we go to sleep, and right before we wake up, there’s this state called the hypnagogic state. And that is this kind of transfer from waking state to sleep. And it’s this kind of when we daydream, or when we fantasize, and we’re getting sleepy, or when we get sucked into a movie or—

Robert Maldonado  06:13

—listening to a podcast.

Debra Maldonado  06:14

— or you’re listening to us. Yeah, so we’re in this state all the time. And so a lot of people say “Ooh, you know, I’m afraid of that state!” but we are in that state. And here’s the thing, you don’t know what’s going into your mind and being absorbed by your mind when you’re not aware that you’re in that state. When you do it intentionally, you can actually work with that state to change your mind, to access the unconscious in a deeper way. So when he did talking cure, he’s actually using hypnosis, but he’s not calling it hypnosis, because even in coaching, a lot of people don’t realize that when you’re working with a coach or a therapist or anyone, one on one, and they’re an authority figure, you’re automatically suggestible to them. So when you go to a doctor, and he says “You have six months to live”, these studies show that because you believe the doctor and you put that in, that you’re going to believe what that person says. So think about the media, think about leaders, think about that kind of massive hypnosis that, you know, goes on. It’s something that’s happening to all of us, and we need to be able to use it in a way that’s very powerful. And when you work with a coach, if the coach is really trained, well trained, and they have that kind of belief in you. It’s very powerful. It’s very powerful to have that coaching session, even if you don’t feel like you did any visualization, or you didn’t do any kind of fancy technique, that you talk to a coach, and they’re believing in you, they’re helping you access parts of your unconscious by asking questions, you’re in that state. And it’s a very powerful transformational state that you can go into without even formally, like, “close your eyes and go deeper” because of the authority they have.

Robert Maldonado  08:11

So you’re essentially saying that it in any relaxed state, where you’re kind of passive, your mind is more suggestible. And so whatever information the mind absorbs during that passive suggestible state of mind will have a hypnotic impact on you.

Debra Maldonado  08:33

Yes, and a lot of times to repetition. If you hear something over and over and over again, and we’re hearing this in the popular news, people believing things that aren’t true. So it’s that kind of idea that if you hear something over and over again, you start to believe it. And so imagine if you could do it to things you want to believe. Like, you’re great. You know, when I used to do the hypnosis, I called them tapes back then, because actually that’s how long ago I’ve been doing this — I’d had cassette tapes, and I would give it to the client and they would listen to “you’re good enough, you’re powerful, you’re doing well.” And so it’s a really powerful tool to help effect change in someone’s life.

Robert Maldonado  09:18

It can be used for good or—

Debra Maldonado  09:20   

It can be used for good and then— but the thing is, most of us, when we’re kids, we’re very suggestible because our parents and the people around us are giving us information. And we don’t doubt it, we just let it in. And then when we get older, we start to harden in our beliefs. And so it’s hard for us to change and we get that midlife crisis where we believed all these things. And that’s where individuation comes in, is that we decide, I feel stuck in this belief system. And that’s how we evolve. Now, when I learned hypnosis, it was about reprogramming that belief system, which is a good first step, but you’re not really freeing the ego. You’re just making it believe something else. And in a true hypnotic state you’re relaxing the ego, we call that the critical mind, where you’re relaxing the ego so that we can bring up things from the unconscious as symbols from dreams, from a deeper wisdom within us, and also change, you know, kind of change the way we feel about ourselves and what’s possible for us.

Robert Maldonado  10:26

Can I ask you something? So I know there’s a lot of misconceptions out there. People believe all kinds of weird things about hypnosis because of popular culture. And then you see the hypnotist up on stage turning people into chicken and stuff like that. So what are some of the— let’s say, give us three big misconceptions that you know are not true from studying hypnosis formally.

Debra Maldonado  10:55

One is that you can’t get stuck in hypnosis, you know, they have the movies, the very famous one is Office Space. Remember, he went to the hypnotist, he dies. And then the guy is like stuck in this trance, you can’t get stuck in a trance, your mind goes in and out, your brainwaves change and fluctuate throughout the day. So you’re not like ever stuck in it. There’s deeper states, there is only about 10% of the population that’s highly suggestible, which can relate to, you know, a lot of things that we see out there. So how the stage hypnotism works is that if there’s 100 people in the audience, they do all these tests with the audience, like as a group, and then he picks out the people that are picking it up right away. And then he brings them up on stage, and then they agree to be on stage. So they have to agree to it. And so there’s all these barriers—

Robert Maldonado  11:52

They’re self-selecting the people that are highly suggestible. And then the hypnotist is saying, okay—

Debra Maldonado  11:59

Be like a dog and fall over and all those, right, but the mind is so— our unconscious mind is very powerful and open to suggestions. So we do have to, you know, know ourselves well, so we’re not in our own trance all the time. Another—

Robert Maldonado  12:18

So not everyone can be hypnotized.

Debra Maldonado  12:22

Everyone can enter the state. But not everyone goes to that stage. Like you can’t hit— get people into that deep state — everyone. Only about 10% are really really suggestible. Another idea is that you’re fogged out. This is a third one is that you’re in a fog when you’re in a hypnotic state, that you’re like, you know, foggy and like, shut down, your mind is shut down and you’re just kind of, I don’t know, sleepwalking basically. But actually, in that hypnotic state, it’s a heightened state of awareness. So imagine you’re very involved. So think about this, you have a coaching session with someone and everything else goes away, and you’re just really kind of— you and the coach are really working together. And it’s a very focused experience. And so it’s very, very powerful. When you watch a movie, you get engulfed in the movie, how many times have you watched a movie and your leg falls asleep, or you get caught up in what’s happening? You’re highly focused. And so when I used to do hypnotherapy sessions, a lot of people would say “I didn’t feel like I went when under”, you know, like amnesia, or not amnesia, what’s it called when they put you under— anesthesia. Yeah, it’s like this, like anesthesia where you’re just gonna forget everything. No, actually you’re very, very present. And so you feel relaxed, but you’re very awake. You’re very, very focused. And actually, it’s a beautiful state of mind for meditation and for holding the mind.

Robert Maldonado  14:04

That’s great. Now, I know it’s a big part of what’s called now the mind-body connection. Because it’s a way to kind of access physiological unconscious states of mind through hypnosis. How do you see its potential moving forward? You know, are we able to affect— because I know in the history, Milton Erickson was the one that took up the mantle after Freud and really developed hypnosis as a scientific way of working.

Debra Maldonado  14:42

He was really brilliant in his way. What he talked about—

Robert Maldonado  14:48

He was into medical hypnosis. So I know you have a little bit of experience or a lot of experience with that. What are the limits? I mean, can you really help somebody with chronic pain or childbirth, in those kinds of situations.

Debra Maldonado  15:06

My very first client as a hypnotherapist — talk about pressure, she was pregnant with twins. And she came to me for childbirth hypnosis. And not only that, they’re supposed to be building, we’re supposed to be building the sessions at three months before birth. And she had like 30 days. And so the pressure was on for me to get all successions in. And I’ve never done it before. So I had like little scripts, step by step. And so I would read to her the script and record it, and she would practice, but she didn’t get her fifth set, last session because she had her babies early. And she told me “I had did not use anesthesia, I didn’t get an epidural.” She said “I definitely wasn’t like super comfortable. But it was not that something I couldn’t handle.” And I was like, wow, this is really cool that this works. And you know, my dad was diagnosed with leukemia, and he went through chemo, and it was really bad. And then the second round, I told him “Let me do some of this hypnosis on you.” And he went through it without any side effects. And he was eating and he went into remission. So it very, very, very powerful to help someone with pain management, and you don’t want to use it to promise to heal disease. But you can have suggestions for someone like my father saying, you know, that you’re healing, and suggestion, just like the doctor says “You have six months to live”, he could also say “You can make it, you know”. And actually another really interesting, when I was doing my training, they would train emergency technicians in hypnosis. And they call it like, when you show up at the, you know, the trauma and the person’s in an accident or something, the mind of the rescue worker, if they believe the person would live, they would live, and if they believe the person wasn’t going to make it, they weren’t going to make it. And so they trained these workers to see the possibility and also not speak because also when you’re in a hypnotic state, when you’re in a heightened emotional state, if you’re having an accident, you’re highly suggestible. That’s why childbirth in the hospitals is really hard, because there’s all the machines, and everyone around is saying “This is gonna hurt.” And so there’s a lot of suggestibility.


And you’re in the hospital, so—

Debra Maldonado  17:41

They’re training the rescue workers to say “You’re going to make it, you know, you’re going to make it, you’re feeling good.” And just even suggestions of, you know, the pain is going to be going away, and we’re going to take care of you and all that is powerful. So, think about the impact for coaching though, is that having someone who understands how the mind works, and to be responsible with the client, and what they speak to the client is very powerful, because the client looks to the coach as an authority figure. And so it’s a very powerful exchange, just like any teacher-student, you know, we’ve seen studies with the teachers and how they project onto the students. And so there’s this kind of unconscious communication that’s going on with people.

Robert Maldonado  18:30

Absolutely. No, I’m very interested in hypnosis as a tool for working with people that have autoimmune disorders, which is really a mind-body question. Because modern medicine or, say, scientific medicine doesn’t know how to work with those problems. A lot of times, they can’t find any physiological causes for these disorders. And so they tell a patient “Well, just, you know, go deal with it.”

Debra Maldonado  19:03

What they do is they treat the symptoms in the medical model, mostly, they look at the physical, and they just say maybe “Reduce your stress.” I think that’s like the main thing, they tell the client “Eat healthier.” I don’t even know if they say “eat healthier”, but I think that, you know, I did a lot of work with people — it wasn’t autoimmune, but people had IBS, which is irritable bowel syndrome. You know, again, that’s another one where people say “Oh, we don’t know why people have this.” And I had such great experiences with using the suggestions for people to talk to their body and have it go back to normal and back to balance. So they found that hypnotherapy actually works really well for those kind of diseases. So I haven’t worked personally with autoimmune, but I know that it’s effective on all these mystery diseases that the medical model or assistances can’t address or can’t find a solution for.

Robert Maldonado  20:07

Yeah. And just to be clear, we’re not teaching medical hypnosis at this point. We’ve been thinking about the prospects. So what is the difference? What difference is, would you say, between visualization and hypnosis?

Debra Maldonado  20:28

Well, hypnosis is the state. And visualization is what you do in that state. So anytime you visualize, let’s practice this right now, just picture your favorite person in the world — your favorite person in the world, picture them in your mind. When you picture that in your mind, you’re starting to go into a state, when you close your eyes and picture them, you go into a deeper state. And it’s just that your brain, when you close your eyes, actually relaxes more. It’s just programmed that way. So you can go into that state. But then what do you do with that state? Are you going to visualize your worst fears? Are you going to think about your bank account going bankrupt? Or are you going to think about your bank account exceeding overflowing? Are you going to visualize yourself heartbroken and single at the end of your life or in love? So you can direct the mind. So visualization helps you use that altered state to direct the mind.

Robert Maldonado  21:30

I mean, from the neurological or neuropsychological point of view, we’re always using visualization, because essentially, that’s the way we construct our reality, we think in pictures. But if we ask, well, what’s going on in the brain when we perceive the world, we’re perceiving our visualization in our mind, in our brain, not the external, although it appears that we are looking out and just observing an external static reality. In essence, the brain is very active, putting all that information together and creating this kind of virtual experience for us. But it’s really a mental experience that we’re going through.

Debra Maldonado  22:19

And so when you’re visualizing, you’re creating just a different mental experience. And you think it’s imagination, because it doesn’t match the external yet, is that it?

Robert Maldonado  22:29

Well, let’s say, if we understand that there’s this principle of the mind, the imagination creating our reality, then if we don’t direct it, it’s simply going to use passive information from our past experience to construct that reality. Whereas when we actively use visualization, we’re directing that part of the mind, the mind’s eye, the imagination to bend reality. So when people talk about bending reality, that would be what’s happening psychologically, is that they’re actually working with that internal representation of reality, understanding that “Oh, my mind is the one that’s creating it, it’s not necessarily coming from the outside.”

Debra Maldonado  23:28

And so the altered state as well is a way to do that too, is the coach and the client, the coach is holding the vision of the client. Because she’s already attained that or he’s already attain that goal. Or he could see the possibility, it actually helps almost that person in that altered state create the image, because they’re giving this is like kind of a sinking of the mind. So a lot of times, when— almost all the time when I do coaching session, well, I think all the time I do coaching sessions, I’m always seeing my client and her potential, or his potential, and it’s like kind of a— they call it the download, but it’s not really a download. It’s just your mind. It’s almost like that unconscious because we’re always speaking to each other and connecting unconsciously, that you’re getting that on some level, that transformation. And that’s why I think it’s so powerful. People think “Oh, we’re just talking and I’m asking my coach questions.” You don’t know that exchange is a very powerful mystical experience that you have every time you have a coaching session. That’s why we always encourage one on one sessions because a lot of people want to do self-help on their own. They want to read books and they want to do their own little worksheets or be in groups. But having that one on one, it’s such a powerful exchange that you miss out if you don’t have that. And that’s why it’s more expensive to work with someone one on one because it takes time for someone who’s really talented and good at coaching— they’re going to charge more, because they know they can give you those results.

Robert Maldonado  25:04

Yeah. And we know from social neuroscience, and this is where the social neuroscience comes into our work, is that our minds tend to synchronize with the people that we pay attention to. So if we’re paying attention to people that trigger us or that are, let’s say, their mindset is not in possibility, like in work situations everybody’s stressed or thinking at a very low level, our minds will tend to calibrate at that level, to the group standard. So when you work with a coach, when you work with like-minded people, you’re actually calibrating your mind at a higher rate, at a higher level functioning. Because they’re thinking in possibility. They’re understanding higher principles of psychology, philosophy, how the mind works. So it’s really important to understand those things. Because often we might be hanging out with people that are not beneficial to our goals.

Debra Maldonado  26:15

Well, you know, it’s funny, a lot of people say that they live in a different town they grew up in, they go home for the holidays, and they said “I feel like I unwound everything I learned, you know, I feel like I regressed” because you go back to the parents and the triggers, and then the true progresses, a lot of our clients say “Oh, I went back and I wasn’t triggered at all.” And I got to see a little for me, when I started to realize my patterns, I started to notice the things that used to trigger me and I’m like “Oh, that’s why I do that. And that’s why I do that.” And watching my siblings, or my mom or my dad, you know, how they act or how they respond to things, I’m like “Oh, that’s where I learned that” because they’re seeing it, and you don’t get triggered anymore. But the average person, you know, they’ll go home, and they’ll feel like I’m making so much progress, so I’m this big executive in my company, and then I go home, and they still treating me like little Becky, who’s, you know, fell on the bike and can’t get anything done or something, you know, it’s that regression that happens if we’re around a different environment. So that’s why it’s really important.

Robert Maldonado  27:23

Yeah. Just want to add, the visualization, just like hypnosis, has been verified by research. And there’s a lot of great research, especially in sports psychology. Because sports psychology is, of course, used on athletes who really need to perform at superhuman levels almost. And they use visualization very effectively.

Debra Maldonado  27:52

Do you know, here’s some interesting facts. Tiger Woods actually had, since he was a little boy, had a hypnotherapist work with him for visualizing. Michael Jordan, he would visualize every shot he would make at that game. Before every game he would visualize, like all the shots he would make and visualize himself doing it. And then he would go and do it. So very, very powerful — visualization.

Robert Maldonado  28:17

Yeah. And of course, in coaching and life coaching, we use visualization to create the possibility, first of all, in our mind, of success, of changing our relationship patterns, creating new businesses, on and on, right, it’s just endless, how we can use visualization in coaching. But let’s go on to meditation.

Debra Maldonado  28:44

Yeah, I wanted to talk about that too, because I think that’s really important. I see a lot of people that— especially when I was doing hypnosis, a lot of people focus on what is, you know, in the session, you know, I’m going to do my little tape, and then I’m going to go through the day, and then just be lazy and not focus on anything, and then go back at the end of the night, listen to my little tape. And so this idea of what happens all during the day, I see meditation as a way to help us really work with the mind and discipline the mind, where we’re not falling into falling asleep, and listening to groups that are telling us things that aren’t true, or that we’re sucked into fear, or, you know, like at the office, everyone’s complaining about the boss and we’re kind of sucked into that realm. Meditation is a really great way to discipline the mind, to help us focus on what we want to create, like a focusing.

Robert Maldonado  29:42

That’s a good point. So you don’t have to necessarily avoid those situations but you’re strengthening your resolve to hold that mindset of possibility even when you’re exposed to negative situations or gossip, or complaining, those kind of things.

Debra Maldonado  30:02

And so the three levels of functions of meditation are attentional regulation. Think of your mind as a flashlight. And whenever it’s focused, you’re gonna see and it’s gonna feel more real. And then you move it away. And so you could even quite simply focus on how something can work or how it can’t work. How this person is good or they’re bad? Or are you going to be successful or you’re going to be a failure? And then you’re going to see through that lens, and so that kind of understanding how to use meditation to practice that focus and help you stay aligned will help you direct your mind, because the mind is like a monkey. It’s just all over the place. It’s always moving. We’re in and out of trance. And so the meditation, practicing meditation, which we teach our coaches, and have them teach their clients how do we hold the mind and how do we discipline the mind?

Robert Maldonado  31:01

Yeah. Richard Davidson at the University of Wisconsin, my alma mater, has been doing some really great research with some of the monks from the Dalai Lama group. So they’re finding that there are a kind of categories of meditation, because we know there are a lot of different approaches to the mind, including in meditation. But there are some general principles that they all follow. One of them, like you were saying is how to focus the attention, you know, how do I get my mind to stay focused on a certain topic, it can be an internal idea or an external object. And if you’ve ever tried to concentrate, you know, it’s difficult. But you can actually train your mind to follow your directions a better way, to stay focused on what you need to accomplish.

Debra Maldonado  32:01

So a lot of people will focus on the breath, that would be a good way to start, you’re just being yourself, and you’re just focused on your breathing in and out. And you’ll notice that after three or four breaths your mind is like “oh oh”. And I’ve been in those, you know, Buddhist centers, and I’m sitting there meditating, and then my mind is drifting. And then the teacher will be like “Refocus your mind.” And you’re like “Oh, yeah.” And so we have to train ourselves to do that.

Robert Maldonado  32:32

Yeah, another one of the different types of approaches is the self-inquiry group. Now, this is where you’re actually using meditation to ask a question, but not so much about the external, but what’s going on within you. For example, who am I? What is the nature of myself, my self concept? And those are very powerful meditation techniques. Because you’re actually deconstructing your self concepts. Of course, you need a coach for this or you need somebody to help you, or to train you, at least in the beginning. But it is about understanding the nature of your mind. And for me, one of the most important lessons is that you are not your thoughts. When you’re caught up and you believe your thinking, you believe that every thought I have is telling me something true about reality or myself. You’re caught up in conditioning and past experiences in that group thing that we’re talking about.

Debra Maldonado  33:51

Well, even like I was saying, as a hypnotherapist, it was like even making the thoughts positive, you’re still caught up, you’re still identifying that I am good enough. I’m not good enough — I am good enough. You’re neither, like that’s not who— the thoughts are real. And so it does help to extend to get you in a more positive state. But it is a false sense of reality still that we identify with our thoughts when we think positive or good, we’re good or something like that.

Robert Maldonado  34:23

Yeah. And then the third kind of element that they talk about is meta awareness or metacognition. It’s the mind’s ability to think about itself. Like what am I thinking about? What am I thinking? What am I feeling? Yes, it’s the mind’s ability to observe itself, and we don’t use it enough, because we’re always so focused on the external.

Debra Maldonado  34:54

And we’re also kind of wrapped up in our thoughts most of the time, is rent ruminating, ideas—

Robert Maldonado  35:01

And believing that our thoughts are real or true.

Debra Maldonado  35:05

Just caught up in the world, in our thinking, and we’re hypnotized, basically.

Robert Maldonado  35:10

So metacognition is really the basis of— meta awareness is the basis of that mindset that people talk about, but often they don’t explain what is going on psychologically or how do I get to that meta consciousness. So that’s one of the practices that we’ve been working with our coaches or training our coaches on.

Debra Maldonado  35:35

Can I add one more thing to that? The idea that — this is something that you made me aware of which I didn’t know as a hypnotherapist — and the training I got about the conscious mind, like we just kind of lump the conscious mind together. But actually the conscious mind has two aspects. There’s the ego, which is the thinking mind, that kind of storyteller narrator. And then there’s also this divine intelligence, which is the witness. So we have access to our divine nature in every moment, it’s just that the thoughts covered over and just make all that noise, just like the clouds, and the sun is still there. But the clouds are kind of covering, and the storm is covering, the storm of our mind. And meta awareness is a wait for us to kind of connect with that awareness of our thoughts, and give a little space so we can start to see “Wait a minute, I’m not my thoughts. This is who I really am.” And that’s what I love about this kind of concept of the dual consciousness, we have access to our deeper selves in every moment. We don’t have to go off to a mountain, we don’t have to go to a deep state of meditation, we can actually just shift and be aware of our thinking, and we’re there already in a different state.

Robert Maldonado  36:47

Yeah. What about the question about techniques versus methods? I mean, obviously, there’s a lot of overlap between hypnosis, visualization, and meditation.

Debra Maldonado  37:01

Well, like I said, hypnosis is really guided visualization, but hypnosis, that term means altered state. So in itself, it’s just a state of mind. You’re in hypnosis, you’re in the hypnotic state. But the technique itself can be used in many different ways. So like the hypnotic state, like I said, you’re with a doctor, he says “You have six months to live” or “You’re going to get better”, he’s not intentionally hypnotizing you, but it’s that hypnotic state that we’re in. Visualization is a technique, meditation is a technique that is using that altered state to manage the mind. And the thing is, we can think positive, we can learn to, you know, train our mind to visualize, but we really need to understand the discipline of how we focus that mind in everyday life. And then also as a coach, we train our coaches how to hold their mind with their clients and what they’re projecting onto the clients, and how that really helps someone in a deeper way.

Robert Maldonado  38:09

And finally, how do we use these techniques in Jungian coaching?

Debra Maldonado  38:16

Well, I want to talk to you about Jung. You know, Freud used hypnosis and created the talking cure, which is actually just talking to someone. Erickson used the story, the power of story, so someone would come into his office, and I think it was this, there’s two Ericksons, I can’t remember which one it is. But he would tell the client his story, and it had nothing to do with anything, but then the client would feel better. And it was just kind of a metaphor. So metaphors can be used. But Jung came up with active imagination, which is when we can open— for the first stages you open up the mind to that relaxed state where you can welcome in the unconscious. And then the second state is interacting with the symbols. And in a creative way, [inaudible], I’m going to take the symbol and make it something, I’m going to kind of explore and let the unconscious show you like a deeper wisdom of the unconscious, show you how to work with it. So that’s one of the things that we teach in our coach training is how to use active imagination. And we can use that the emotions that arise, we can use it with dreams, symbols and dreams. And then we can also use it as, you know, just that guided— there’s a guided visualization too, that would be just going ahead and using that state of altered state to create something new in our life. But the act of imagination is also a different way of using visualization.

Robert Maldonado  39:46

Yeah, Jung was quite a visualizer. If you read his “Red Book.” It’s like he was in a continual hallucination. But thank God he did that work because he was exploring basically the power of the psyche to generate all these images and stories from within. Very powerful stuff.

Debra Maldonado  40:14

And so how do you see us, the Jungian coaches, working with visualization and this hypnotic state?

Robert Maldonado  40:23

Anytime you’re working with the mind, you have to first understand what is the nature of the mind. And our approach has been to consider, well, what Eastern wisdom, traditions say about the mind, because they’re a lot more sophisticated in their formulation of what is consciousness compared to thinking, feeling, and acting. Whereas in the West we’ve kind of medicalized everything, and it’s turned into, you know, the brain is seen almost like an information processing computer. And the idea is “Well, let’s reprogram it and change its functions this way, that way.” So I think we need both, we need both understandings, because we do want to take advantage of the scientific information and the research that’s coming out about the brain, and the nervous system, and social neuroscience, like we were talking about. But the Eastern philosophy really gives us a deeper perspective on what is the nature of the mind and what is the nature of the reality that we’re working with.

Debra Maldonado  41:42

So really, you’re saying that the reprogramming aspect is effective for functioning in the world and making a functioning ego, but we’re not the ego. So the Eastern brings in that? Well, you know, because I think a lot— I know, for me, I felt like I was always working on that ego level. And it really wasn’t free, because I hadn’t worked with my shadow yet. And so there’s a lot building up that persona, and making it more shiny and more positive, and thinking positive is a nice step, better than just wallowing in negativity. It’s a really good beginning for people but that’s just the beginning. I mean, now that you can have the confidence in yourself, then you can actually have the strength to face your shadow, which is all the things that you don’t know, that your mind is thinking because I think a lot of it was, especially hypnosis, a lot of it was things you already knew, like you’re hearing your thoughts, and you’re like, I want to change those thoughts. But you’re not really going into what is it unconsciously that I’m not.

Robert Maldonado  42:49

Or who is the who is the thinker of your thoughts?

Debra Maldonado  42:52

Yes, yes. So it’s kind of the next step of evolution. And a lot of people stay stuck in that “I’m just going to change my thoughts and my thinking”, without going “Well, who am I, and what’s deeper in the unconscious besides just the personal unconscious?” And a lot of hypnotherapy is really based on that personal unconscious level, and they don’t really go into the shadow or the deeper states of the collective.

Robert Maldonado  43:17

Yeah, that’s a good point. These techniques or methods in themselves, they’re only as good as the context of the bigger philosophy, the bigger theory that the coach or the therapist is using. Because you can use hypnosis for stage hypnosis, entertainment, let’s say, and you can use it to really help transform your mind and go much deeper into the unconscious mind.

Debra Maldonado  43:53

And what I love is some of the tools we teach our coaches is just how to create states, how to use what we know about the mind and the conditioning aspect of the mind, which we can use to our benefit, but we can’t just solely depend on that part. But for instance, we teach them how to get into a state before they do a video or before they go into a coaching session. We teach them some tools to anchor in feelings and emotions, and then also tools to manage the mind throughout the day. Those things are very valuable to teach to your clients that are great, and they’re valuable, and they work. But then we also want to add on to who are we becoming beyond that ego. So I think these techniques are awesome. But we also have to remember that we’re not our ego that we’re more than that. So they really do support. Like we need a strong ego to face the shadow. If we have a kind of a weak, insecure ego it’s really hard to have the balls to go and face the— courage to face, you know, these parts of ourself and really grow ourselves. So I think there’s always room for this type of work for beginners if you’re feeling really insecure, and you just kind of need a little kind of feeling like okay with yourself, and then you can go to the next level.

Robert Maldonado  45:17

Yeah. The Buddha himself said “The undisciplined mind will hurt you more than your worst enemy.” And the contrary also, a well-trained mind, meaning your ability to work with your mind, will help you more than anything in the world, more than anyone in the world.

Debra Maldonado  45:39

So here’s a question, some questions.

Robert Maldonado  45:41

Oh, cool.

Debra Maldonado  45:44

Another misconception of hypnosis is you can lose control as a subject. Yes. But actually, when we’re in that hypnotic state and we’re sucked into, it’s not that we lose control, but we can not be aware of, well, other influences are controlling.

Robert Maldonado  46:03

Somebody saying hello from England. Right.

Debra Maldonado  46:07

“How would you approach working with someone diagnosed with autoimmune disease? Love your talks.” Well, here’s the thing, there’s two steps to working with the medical conditions. One step is you can actually reverse symptoms, which is — by the medical model — where, okay, instead of giving them medicine, you can give them suggestions, like your blood pressure’s a certain way, and your body’s healing, and all those, which is great. But the deeper level is actually doing the Shadow Work. And you can’t really, as a coach, know exactly what is the cause of the autoimmune disease, there’s a deeper unconscious cause, and you can’t analyze it directly, you have to work with the client doing the Shadow Work. And some of our clients have had autoimmune disease, and we didn’t work with them directly on that symptom or that condition, we just did the shadow work on them, and their symptoms went away. So I think it’s very powerful, because really any kind of physical, there’s a psychological component to it, so we can get to the psychological component. But initially, if you want to work on just the symptom, you know, you can visualize that symptom reversed. And that would be a great way to start. But I would encourage anyone who has that to do the Shadow Work individuation that’s going to give them so much more than just the relief of symptoms, they’re going to actually— it kind of takes care of itself. We’ve had people who had overeating, obsessive eating, you know, they lost weight, just from doing Shadow Work. It’s all this stored emotion that we haven’t dealt with, that we push away, and that we’re creating a persona to hold up. And that’s why Shadow Work is so powerful.

Robert Maldonado  47:57

Yeah, I mean, the whole ethos of the mind-body approach is that we’re not dealing with these separate elements, that the mind is not really separate from the body. It operates in harmony or they both operate in harmony with each other.

Debra Maldonado  48:14

“It’s one thing to become aware and understand your thoughts and beliefs. But if one truly does not believe, subconsciously, they are worthy, then how can they embody it?” That’s a great question. We have a lot of people. And so here’s the thing. What we teach in our method is the eastern method, which is you’re not your ego. So there’s no need to be worthy because it’s the ego, the ego isn’t even real. So this “I am worthy” is— you know, I said, it’s a really good first step for someone to build up their ego. But what frees people is to realize that they’re not the ego. So it’s a spiritual solution, not a mindset thinking solution or even a belief. This idea “I believe I’m worthy”, what does that mean? And so we help our clients understand breaking apart that idea of worthy and unworthy. Neither of them are even real. How would you—?

Robert Maldonado  49:11

Yeah, I mean that we want to think of the ego more as a function of the mind. Of course, we have an ego and of course we experience it and it is an important part of the way we exist in the world. But its nature is that it’s more of a function of survival. It helps us survive, it helps us navigate the world. But in its ultimate reality, it’s not an absolute. Yeah, it is not giving us an absolute sense of who we really are.

Debra Maldonado  49:50

So we’re not the thinker we’re the witness.

Robert Maldonado  49:52

Yes, that true self, as Jung would say and Eastern philosophy says, is the pure awareness that exists, that is able to observe that function in all its facets.

Debra Maldonado  50:06

And I would think that someone who does— I had unworthiness for ever that’s why I did personal development. But I find that I kept thinking that if I just believed I was worthy, then I’d have people love me. And then I’d have good things happen in my life. And I was basically just thinking if I built up my ego enough, I’ll get the goodies in life. And that’s kind of a misperception. So it was actually a gift that I didn’t feel worthy because it made me ask the deeper question of “if I still don’t feel worthy, then who am I?”, and that’s a really beautiful process to take someone through to find out who they really are. I think the crime would be someone who thinks they’re worthy, and identify so much with their ego and what they have in their life. They have a great relationship, and they have money, and they have fame, and they think that’s what makes them worthy. I would rather be the person who’s questioning their own worth and asking deeper questions about why don’t I feel like that. I remember someone said, “Why don’t you feel worthy? Like what is it? Why do you hate yourself so much?” And I had to try to answer that question. And that’s what led me to the deeper knowledge and the higher knowledge of that I’m not my body. I’m not this ego. I’m not my thoughts. I’m divine. I have this divine nature. And so anything that comes up that feels like we’re struggling with is actually there because there’s a deeper part of us that knows better that’s trying to get our attention. Don’t you think?

Robert Maldonado  51:38

That’s a good way to frame it.   

Debra Maldonado  51:40

Thank you for answering. And Milton Erickson is the one— he’s more of the hypnotherapist. He’s not the Erickson that you talk about.

Robert Maldonado  51:47

No, no, the other Erickson is I think it’s Eric Erickson, developmental psychology.

Debra Maldonado  51:54

So much different people, like Milton is more new age and hypnosis, and you know, kind of like you. I think it was a—

Robert Maldonado  52:01

No, he did a lot of work in medical— So really brought the science of hypnosis a long—

Debra Maldonado  52:08

And what Eric Erickson did?

Robert Maldonado  52:10

He work more on developmental stages in life.

Debra Maldonado  52:13

Oh, that’s right. That’s right. Yeah, the developmental stages, so he didn’t do the hypnosis. It’s Milton Erickson. Okay. All right. There’s two Erickson, so I got confused for a minute. Yeah, great questions. And, yeah, I hope we answered a lot of your questions about this state. And about hypnosis, and I love talking about it, it reminds me of my old days. And I do love the techniques, but it’s not complete. It’s like a part of the picture. It’s a great tool to use with clients, it helps them, you know, kind of play with their mind and see how powerful it is. A lot of people that I worked with, you know, came to me to quit smoking or lose weight. And it transformed their life, just understanding how their mind works. They were like “Wow, this is really powerful.” Some people have— how many people that I sent to my hypnotherapy school, and then we started our own coaching school where we teach these things. But I remember I told Rob, I was like “I wish we would have done this 20 years ago”, because people were always saying “I want to learn what you know.”

Robert Maldonado  53:20

And then there’s a lot of variations, right? Like the tapping hypnosis. No? But it’s kind of a variation on it? No? I mean, are they trying to relax the body?

Debra Maldonado  53:32

Yeah, kind of. But they’ve done research, and it actually only puts people in a relaxed state. And you’re still kind of identifying, you’re not really working on the unconscious, you’re working on things that you know, you’re conscious of. So I feel like it suppresses emotions versus actually resolving it. Just like aspirin. If you have a brain tumor and you’re taking aspirin, it’s going to maybe make you feel better temporarily, but it’s not addressing the big problem. And I always tell people, the only problem you have is that you believe you’re the ego. That’s the only problem. Any kind of suffering we have in our life, any dissatisfaction we have in our life, we believe we’re the ego. And while hypnosis, the things I use to build up the ego are great, but you’re still in ego, we need to do the Jungian aspect, Jungian coaching, which takes them into the shadow and moving beyond the ego. And that’s the difference between what we do and what other self-help personal development in that state. Like I said, there’s nothing wrong with the first one, we just take it to the next stage of your life, now it’s time to let go of the ego and see even more unlimited potential that you have.

Robert Maldonado  54:51

So all these variations on the theme. They’re still part of psychodynamic models, meaning they’re seeing the mind as an active fluid structure or function. There’s different energies and different elements in psyche, jostling for power and for dominance. Next, we’ll go into behaviorism or cognitive behavior.

Debra Maldonado  55:19

I think we’re doing cognitive behavior next week.

Robert Maldonado  55:22

Yeah, so we’ll go more into the formal psychological kind of models that are very popular. A lot of therapists are trained in cognitive behavioral models. And there’s a lot of coaches now that use CBC, cognitive behavioral coaching, very powerful techniques that are kind of used to problem solve—

Debra Maldonado  55:50

And information processing.

Robert Maldonado  55:52

Information processing, but also to kind of observe the mind and correct the errors that we make in thinking.

Debra Maldonado  56:03

Yeah, I love this topic today, it was really fun to talk about my hypnosis. I do love that. I mean, I use it all the time, if I have pain in my body, or working with clients to anchor in states and help them with visualizations. And there’s nothing wrong with making suggestions. I mean, you’re basically using the mind’s ability to condition itself and recondition itself. But we also have to approach it in this is not the end of the road. It can help us to a certain extent. But we also have to see that we’re not just the mind, we are not just the ego, we are this other bigger self. So thank you for joining us today. Happy Saturday, stay safe, and stay positive. And pay attention to your mind. Watch how it fluctuates throughout the day. Watch how you get sucked into things, Facebook and social media, YouTube, you can get really in trance in videos, and you can watch, hours will go by, and you lose that kind of sense of time and that’s, you know, you’re in that hypnotic state. So just watch what you’re paying attention to. Are you sucked into the news all the time? Are you watching things that are negative? You know, we sometimes worry about watching scary movies and things, we need to cleanse our palate after a scary movie because it’s just kind of gets into your psyche. So we have to, you know, actually Pema Chödrön said “If we went into a crowd, and we would put— and it was dangerous, we would put armor on to protect ourselves physically. But we never think to protect our mind when we go into places.” So it’s not that protective scare us. But to be aware and to be aware of where am I placing my mind? Who am I surrounding myself with? Am I in a supportive community? Am I putting my environment— I mean, is it positive? Even the physical environment, it can be very— if everything’s messy all the time in your house, your state of mind is messy.



Debra Maldonado  58:16

Everything is a reflection. So thank you so much, everyone, for joining us. Thank you for the comments. And we’ll see you next week.

Robert Maldonado  58:24

Thanks for watching. Take care.

Debra Maldonado  58:24

Take care. Bye bye.

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