In the above I have been somewhat casual about whether to regard rapport and resistance as being different aspects of one system or as two different systems. For practical purposes at this level the question is not very important.
However it is a good principle to always look out for pairs of opposing organic systems. You might see that there is only need to develop an active system of resistance if there is also an active system of rapport. A child that never had any desire or motive to respond to another person would not need to develop any system later on to defend itself against being improperly influenced.
But here I would simply like you to think about the fact that it is possible not merely to reduce defensiveness in a person but to build up a strong desire to please and to cooperate: something I am calling rapport in this chapter. You can see this naturally in many children who are actively motivated to please and learn from and respond to and trust and copy a parent or admired elder. We can see it naturally in someone who is falling in love: there is a very strong tendency to find everything about the loved one not merely acceptable but admirable. Film stars, singers and other "charismatic" people seem naturally to evoke similar feelings in millions. Advertisers attempt to use this by using such people to promote their goods. If your sporting hero says, "buy these shoes" then you will accept the statement, which you would reject if the marketing manager spoke directly.
If you are fortunate enough already to have the sort of personality that evokes this kind of response from a wide range of people then you have an asset which will make certain aspects of hypnosis and hypnotherapy much easier. The question that then arises is, "To what extent can you learn to evoke such responses?"
I don't know. But here are a few thoughts on the subject.
First of all, it is hard to please everybody. The more appeal you have to those who respond well to a dominating personality the less appeal you will have to those who hate it and respond only to a cooperative approach. The more appeal you have for those who like to be told simple, dogmatic truths the less you will have for those who prefer a detailed, complete understanding.
My second point is that the best way to evoke feelings of trust is to be trustworthy and honest in all you say and do.
The conclusions I draw from these premises are first that it is better to make the best of who you are rather than to try to act like someone else, and second that you should, as a therapist, be prepared to accept that another therapist will do better with many clients simply because their natural style is more acceptable to them, though of course there are other clients that you will be better able to help.
(Just as this book will be the best for some students, while other students will find other books better.)
If you want to gauge how you are doing on the rapport front then I would suggest that after doing any of the above exercises you ask a few questions of your partner such as:
"To what extent did you feel like giving a more positive response than was quite truthful?" "Was this to try to please me?"
"How would you describe your overall assessment of the way in which I was asking questions: warm? friendly? likable? neutral? cold? manipulative? dominating? other?"
The other very important factor in rapport is whether the subject has confidence in what you are doing at the time. And the most important way of improving this is simply through your becoming better at it. And that comes best through practice. And that is why this book is so oriented towards practice.
So in that sense everything you have done is a means to achieving some positive rapport with a subject.
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