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Keep it simple, stupid!

By on September 15, 2014

There is a psychological principle called the Dunning Kruger Effect after the researchers who identified it, or sometimes the Lake Wobegon effect after the town created by Garrison Keillor where “all the women are strong, all the men are good looking, and all the children are above average”. Under this principle the incompetent refuse to believe they are incompetent. And I know I’ve met them! I’m sure you have too.

There is an equal and opposite effect, which is dangerous to us hypnotists. This is the tendency to underestimate your own abilities in a field where you have great expertise. As a hypnotist you are used to using your mind in subtle and powerful ways. You are expert at visualizing, at changing eh sub modalities (size, distance, location and so on) of these movies, You are expert at entering a deep state or relaxation and from their trance. See the article below for a fuller description of this effect.

As such we tend to forget that our clients are very unlikely to have these skills to the same degree we do. We might ask our clients to visualize, or do some sub modality shifts without giving them the necessary time and training to do these competently. Milton Erickson would spend several sessions with his clients teaching them basic hypnosis skills, often before he did any therapeutic work.

We might not have the luxury of several sessions to train our clients, but we can take a minute or two to ensure that they are able to do the mental gymnastics we are asking from them, and not just agreeing with us through compliance. I guarantee it will be time well spent.

This is the worse-than-average effect. This means that when you’re good at something, you tend to assume that other people are good at it as well. So, when you’re faced with a difficult task that you are good at, you underestimate your own ability. The Worse-Than-Average Effect: When Youre Better Than You Think PsyBlog

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