At the Canadian Academy of Clinical Hypnotherapy, classes are strategically designed to blend in person experiential training with live, virtual theory lectures. This combination of in class and live virtual training makes the most of both formats, both from a learning perspective and a human connection perspective that in turn, facilitate the learning of the course material.
Most of our communication is actually unconscious and nonverbal; emotional content is rapidly processed through social cues like touch, joint attention, and body posture. These nonverbal cues are not only used to acquire information about others, but are also directly used to prepare an adaptive response and engage in reciprocal communication, all in a matter of milliseconds. However, on video, most of these cues are difficult to visualize, since the same environment is not shared (limiting joint attention) and both subtle facial expressions and full body gestures may not be captured. Without the help of these unconscious cues on which we have relied since infancy to socioemotionally assess each other and bond, learning important client therapeutic skills and building vital relationships amongst peers, will be negatively impacted.
Successfully helping future clients realize permanent changes to their emotional and physical wellbeing requires connection via the establishment of rapport. By definition, rapport is a close and harmonious relationship in which the people or groups concerned understand each other’s feelings or ideas and communicate well. While the theory of building rapport can be taught virtually, it truly must be experiential to learn to intuitively develop this most important component of Clinical Hypnotherapy. As facilitators of this change within our clients, we are on the outside guiding while our clients are having a full, rich, inward experience. Learning to read a client’s physical state prior to and during trance is vital for the management of productive client-centric sessions. Practicing live with the supervision of an experienced instructor cannot be replaced with the visual limitations of on-line learning.
In addition to the benefits of in person learning, in person classes present the opportunity for an important sense of community that can easily be lost online. Personal connections with like-minded peers who share their interests provide a bonding experience that is not unlikely to be replicated online, as most students rarely converse with each other during and after an online class. Social cues are often missed in online classes, and when we fail to pick up on these cues, we feel uncomfortable and somewhat anxious that we may misunderstand people and situations. There is also overwhelming evidence on how eye contact improves connection. On a video call, gaze must be directed at the camera for it to appear that one is making eye contact with an observer, and during conferences with 3 or more people, it can be impossible to distinguish mutual gaze between any 2 people. The result is that the on-screen dynamic tends to be perceived as impersonal and largely anonymous. In-person classes also lead to organic “Q&A” style discussions where students will ask questions as they arise and bounce ideas off of one another and the instructor.
In closing, the benefits of mixing in person live training with the convenience of virtual training are undeniable, from learning a full understanding of the therapeutic client relationship to the advantages of building relationships with those sharing the experience, fellow students and instructor alike.