It's amazing how you can suddenly lose your 'touch' and almost get into a repetitive cycle of losing your confidence and the ability to hit as you once did, whether putting or driving. There is a way you can regain the confidence in your strokes
many golfers will find it exceedingly helpful to work with a therapist
Sport Psychology, Hypnosis and Golf:
Here is an article written by Dr Granat - a well known Sports Psycologist
Simon Jenkins has written a thorough and comprehensive review on the use of hypnosis with golfers outlining many of the historical, ethical and clinical issues. He also does a fine job of addressing some of the fears and misconceptions associated with hypnosis and self-hypnosis. I would like to add a few additional comments about the use of hypnosis with golfers. Specifically, I would like to outline a few case examples as a way of showing how hypnosis is employed clinically and how it can be used to help golfers to perform well during competition. I have counseled thousands of golfers and there are many cases I could present in this article. I am selecting just a handful which illustrate how hypnosis and hypnotic techniques are incorporated into the counseling process and the coaching relationship. I believe it is important to understand that effective hypnosis and hypnotherapy do not take place in a vacuum. That is, when it is used wisely and intelligently, it is frequently combined with other aspects of psychotherapy and the counseling process.
ANXIETY AND SIBLING RIVALRY
I utilize hypnosis with golfers and with athletes from virtually every sport imaginable. Hypnosis can be used to build confidence, manage stress, improve focus, clarify goals, better relationships, obtain insight, improve motivation, and manage pain. These are very important matters for the golfer-athlete. For example, recently a golfer who came to see me, because he found himself becoming quite tense when he played golf. Some therapists or hypnotists might have simple taught this man a self-hypnotic technique which could promote increased relaxation. While there is nothing wrong with this idea, I believe it is important to learn as much as possible about the etiology of a person’s anxiety. While taking a history from this man, he explained to me that he is most tense when he competes against his regular playing partner who happens to be his older brother. We discussed the nature and history of their competitiveness and their sibling rivalry. Apparently, my client felt that he could never beat his “big brother” at golf or for that matter at anything. I explained how hypnosis might be helpful to this man. He agreed to try a hypnotic exercise. I helped him into a comfortable trance and suggested that imagine that he was the older brother. He enjoyed being in this powerful role very much. He loved the hypnotic experience verymuch and he went on to beat his brother by five strokes the next time they played with one another. He called me on Monday morning to share the big news about his victory with me.
HYPNOSIS IN CONJUNCTION WITH GESTALT THERAPY AND PSYCHODRAMA
Hypnosis can also be easily integrated with supportive counseling, insight oriented therapy, behavioral therapy, gestalt therapy, psychoanalysis, dream work, psychodrama and cognitive-behavioral therapy. The literature contains many examples and illustrations of how hypnosis is used by therapists with a wide range of orientations. I frequently develop hypnotic trances in which golfers can mentally recreate good rounds and bad rounds in my office. I use hypnosis to help them to become deeply aware of what playing well feels like and what playing poorly feels like for them. I sometimes combine this hypnotic experience with a technique from Gestalt therapy and psychodrama known as the “double chair.” This two-chair method is a way of helping people to get in touch with two sides of themselves. For example, it can help a golfer to learn about his psychological strengths and his weaknesses. It can also be used to help a person resolve conflicts or ambivalent feelings. For instance, it could be helpful in treating a golfer who wants to be successful, but has some underlying fear of being successful. While in a hypnotic trance, I frequently have golfers move from the positive chair to the negative chair. Again, this helps the athlete to learn more about what drives each kind of performance on the course. Frequently, this method helps the client to learn an important but subtle difference between feeling good and performing well and feeling poorly and performing poorly. As one golfer noted after trying the double-chair exercise: smile helps me to feel more comfortable and play better. Prior to this hypnosis, I mistakenly believed that I had to be serious to be in control and play my best. I will bring a little levity with me the next time I compete.”
USING HYPNOSIS WITH THE GOLFER’S SUPPORT SYSTEM
In addition to working with the golfer by himself or herself, I frequently include parents, coaches, agents, caddies, managers, spouses and significant others in the process. They are the athlete’s support system. And sometimes, I lead this support system through a group exercise which is a combination of hypnosis, and guided imagery. This can be quite powerful since it can help everyone to discover interesting ideas and it can help all the key people to get on the same page as the golfer. In some instances, I have hypnotized both the golfer and his or her caddie in order to prepare them for an upcoming event. Recently, after a placing a golfer and his caddie into a trance, the caddie and the golfer told me in great detail a lot about their goals, and their dreams and how they felt their lives might change if they were successful in their sport. In my view, when a caddie and golfer are functioning as a team, they enter a rather special shared mental space. Some therapists would say they move into a shared trance state or a joint hypnotic state. Knowing how to get into this kind of state of mind can help the duo to improve the synergy between them and to learn how to perform to their full potential more often.
While some golfers can benefit from being hypnotized or learning self-hypnosis, many golfers will find it exceedingly helpful to work with a therapist who can, when necessary, integrate hypnosis into the counseling and coaching process.