John Hartland pointed out that only a few patients will let go of their symptoms before they feel confident and strong enough to do without them. Hartland's ego-strengthening techniques are comprised of positive suggestions of self-worth and personal effectiveness. I view ego-strengthening as analogous to the medical setting in which a patient is first strengthened by proper nutrition, general rest, and weight gain before a radical form of sur gery is performed. At times his condition strengthens to the point that an infection is cured due to the strengthening of the patient's immune system. At times just the mere teaching of self-hypnosis for relaxation and calmness and the use of ego-strengthening techniques may be enough so that a patient's symptoms spontaneously disappear.
In my opinion, ego-strengthening is a technique that is indicated for all patients who come to us looking for an alleviation of their suffering regardless of what their symptoms are. It is like saying that healthy and good nutrition is helpful to all patients regardless of what their diagnosis or illness is. After I teach the patient self-hypnosis, I then introduce ego-strengthening suggestions. Later, I ask the patient to repeat after me specific statements of ego-strengthening. The following is a verbatim example of suggestions given, following induction, to a patient recovering from depression.
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For anyone concerned that this is a report designed to teach readers how to convince crowds of people to act like chickens or dance to an unheard song just with a carefully placed keyword - relax. While hypnosis is often paraded in that form with large crowds visiting celebrity hypnosis experts to see what wonders they can perform, the majority of hypnosis used is to aid people seeking a solution to a problem they cannot resolve easily with any other method.