“Imagination rules the world” is a quote from Napoleon Bonaparte and I can’t think of a truer phrase from many years of observations of human behaviour when working in private practice.
Many clients with severe emotional problems are literally governed by an imagination that is fully out of control. This is especially true of jealousy issues I referred to recently, but also OCD and other such “stuck states” Sometimes the client can exhibit overwhelming signs of paranoia and it’s not uncommon for such cases to believe that “everyone is out to get them” or in cases that they are even being followed. Sometimes such individuals quote other people’s experience as their own to the extent of relating stories as if it were their own experience.
In these instances the client’s imagination truly “rules their model of their world’” and of course there is literally nothing you can say or do that will convince them otherwise. In many ways this is an excellent example of hypnosis in action on either an individual or group basis. The person’s world has shrunk to a tiny little box and they seek attention from others (and often get it) which again reinforces the perception. Such types yearn for what they perceive to be “status in life” and truly would like to belong to any club that would accept them as a member! Most such individuals have little creativity, but instead seek to emulate others and/or seek “status by association” with those they perceive as “important”. This often leads to seeking group identities where they can “feel safe’ where their perceptions are not challenged by others.
Often such people never feel genuinely happy, despite their best efforts are often “pleasers” who crave attention, so they can feel valued. The age for such individuals can vary, but is typically 25 – 40 and in the era of digital communication, often such people’s brains are literally out of control communicating without realizing or thinking about subsequent consequences and inevitably find themselves in problematic situations. Standard hypnotherapy can work well with such client cases, but Provocative Therapy in my experience works extremely well, but sometimes it can be hard work if the client is seriously delusional. I have had clients who fall into this category and who insist that their view is the only one that counts! Many such individuals come from foster home backgrounds and seek out parental figures for reassurance, often moving from one profession to another but due to poor concentration rarely develop solid careers.
The challenge for any therapist is that they actually believe the delusion and often individual cases can spiral into group activity. It’s not dissimilar to cult like activity where the group literally is “so certain” of what it imagines to be true that everything that doesn’t fit is deleted. Once a member leaves the imagination of the rest of the group predictably goes into overdrive. In such group situations this can produce a fanaticism which clouds individual discrimination and people find themselves “ruled by group imagination” which rules the group’s world. This reminds me of the emperor’s new clothes syndrome where nobody dare question what has obviously quite ludicrous, but of course it’s the therapist’s job to do so and Provocative Therapy and Provocative Change Works is excellent in provoking different responses.
I don’t think Napoleon saw private clients and my own imagination does indeed wonder what he saw and heard that prompted this quote…