What Do Hypnosis And Bananas Have In Common

I was chatting to a friend recently who’s a bit skeptical about the whole hypnosis side of things, and I was talking about how virtually anything could be used therapeutically in hypnosis. She snorted loudly at this (sorry Rachel, but you did!). “OK,” she said. “So if I suggest some random object, you can build a hypnosis session round it?”

“Yep,” I said confidently.

“Right…” she paused and looked around the room for some inspiration. Her eyes came to rest on the fruit bowl. “Bananas!” She raised her eyebrows, challenging me to find something inspiring, relaxing or otherwise therapeutic about bananas. I smiled, asked her to close her eyes and take a deep breath. Then I began weaving a visualization about bananas.

Time To Get Bananas

I asked her to picture a beautiful bunch of bananas hanging on a stand in front of her. To imagine reaching out and picking the perfect banana. To feel the smooth firm skin of the banana in her hand.

To think of how the banana had once been hanging on a tree, drawing moisture up from the ground… perfectly filtering and purifying that water through the stems and leaves of the plant. To picture the warm Caribbean sun soaking into the banana, filling it full of goodness and energy and sweetness… and so on I went, using the banana as a metaphor.

She began to look slightly less sure of herself.

“Alright,” she said suddenly, looking triumphant. “But what if I HATE bananas? How could you use it then?”

“That’s cool,” I replied.  “I’d use them as a metaphor for anything in your life that you’re not happy with…  we could start with a bright clear image of bananas and all the things that bother you about them.

Then we’d make that image smaller, duller, not so much ‘in your face’… so somehow those bananas just don’t bother you as much as they did before… it’s easier to ignore them, or tolerate them, just as you find it easier to ignore or tolerate the things in your life that used to bother you so much…”

“Hmm… Ok…” she was beginning to look more doubtful. Then she threw in a final attempt to prove me wrong.

“Got it!” she said, with a big grin. “How about a big bunch of smelly, rotting bananas? Hah!

How Are You Going To Make Something Positive Out Of Rotten Bananas

“Perfect!” I replied. “That smelly bunch of black, rotting bananas can symbolize all the negative thoughts and feelings you might be experiencing, and we can visualize you washing away every last tiny bit of those dark, rotten fruits, until you’re just left with a shiny, clean bowl, beautifully patterned and gleaming in the sunlight… not a speck of negativity and darkness left… just as there’s no longer any negativity and darkness in your thoughts about … whatever we’re working on.”

At that point, I’m glad to say she gracefully gave in. You see, because of the use of metaphor in hypnosis, I really do think we can incorporate absolutely anything at all. So long as we know enough about the client and have a bit of imagination, absolutely anything they throw at us can become a positive, therapeutic experience.

Why not practice it for yourself? Have some fun. Grab a dictionary, open it at a random page, close your eyes and stab your finger anywhere on the page. Open your eyes and take whatever word your finger has landed on. Play with it, and find a way to create a positive, therapeutic visualization or hypnosis session around it.

It’s good practice for the real thing, and you never know, you might just stumble upon a really good, creative metaphor that you can use with your next client!