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Oct 11, 2023 | Mental Health

Inner Debugging and the Power of Self-reflection and Mental Reorientation

Joel Dickinson

Joel Dickinson


Inner Debugging and the Power of Self-reflection and Mental Reorientation

About this article

In the world of software development, the term “rubberducking” might seem out of place, but for programmers, it holds significant meaning. It’s a technique used to untangle complex coding issues by simply explaining them to a non-sentient entity – often, a literal rubber duck. On the other hand, hypnosis – a state of deep relaxation combined with heightened focus and suggestibility – may seem an entirely different domain. Yet, upon close inspection, these two concepts reveal astonishing similarities. In this fun and thought-provoking article, I explore how a rubber duck and a hypnotist’s pendulum share cognitive commonalities – it’s an answer that lies deep within the intricacies of the human brain. I also explain how my Rapid Transformational Therapy™(RTT™) and Hypnotherapy service can help people transform their mental state by encouraging them to externalise, examine, and reframe their internal thought processes and find solutions to their problems to facilitate positive change.

Debugging with Ducks

Rubberducking, a term originating from the 1999 book “The Pragmatic Programmer,” refers to explaining your problem to an inanimate object, such as a rubber duck, to help self-identify the issue. The idea is that articulating a problem often leads to a solution, as the process forces the programmer to rethink their logic, assumptions, and constraints from a fresh perspective. By expressing thoughts out loud, programmers externalise their internal cognitive processes, shifting to a more holistic viewpoint. Often, the solution becomes clear during the explanation itself, without the rubber duck having to quack a single word.

The Hypnotic Experience

Hypnosis, first coined by James Braid in the 19th century, is a process whereby a trained practitioner like me guides someone into a trance-like state of heightened concentration and relaxation. Under hypnosis, the subject is more open to suggestions, and their focus shifts from the outer world to the inner landscapes of their mind. Despite popular misconceptions, hypnosis doesn’t involve the hypnotist or in my case, the hypnotherapist, taking control of the subject’s mind but rather facilitating a deep state of self-reflection and suggestibility. In essence, it is a method of communicating with the subconscious mind, enabling the subject to discover insights or address specific concerns that might have been hidden from their conscious awareness.
Looping Thoughts and the Therapeutic Power of RTT™.

Linking Rubberducking and Hypnosis

Now that I’ve outlined rubberducking and hypnosis let’s explore their shared cognitive characteristics. At first glance, these two may seem worlds apart, but they both leverage the power of self-reflection and mental re-orientation. Listed below are some key commonalities between these two disciplines. 1. Externalisation of Thought: Both rubberducking and hypnosis facilitate the externalisation of internal thoughts. While programmers speak to an inanimate object to elucidate their code, hypnotised individuals externalise their subconscious thoughts via a guided dialogue. In both scenarios, they often uncover insights that they weren’t consciously aware of at the outset. 2. Altered State of Consciousness: During rubberducking, the programmer enters a state of ‘flow,’ concentrating wholly on the problem at hand. Similarly, hypnosis induces a trance-like state where the individual is focused inwardly. Both states allow for deeper introspection and problem-solving. 3. Autonomous Insights: Both rubberducking and hypnosis can lead to autonomous insights, often surprising the individual with the depth of their subconscious understanding. In the case of rubberducking, the solution typically emerges through the act of explaining the problem, while in hypnosis, answers surface through guided conversation and suggestion. 4. Facilitation of Change: Both techniques can facilitate change – either in a problematic code or in personal behaviour. By laying bare the structure of the issue, they allow individuals to identify and rectify root causes, whether that’s a hidden bug or an unhelpful cognitive pattern or behaviour. The cognitive connection becomes clear by viewing rubberducking and hypnosis through this lens. They both harness the power of self-reflection, externalisation, and concentrated focus to facilitate problem-solving and insight.

The Mind as a Debugging Tool

Both rubberducking and hypnosis illustrate that our minds are potent debugging tools, capable of tackling complex issues from coding to cognitive behaviour. However, I must point out that neither technique implies that the mind is flawed. Instead, they suggest that it’s inherently complex and multi-layered, housing both our conscious and subconscious thought processes. For instance, consider a programmer grappling with a stubborn code error. They are aware of the issue, but the solution isn’t immediately apparent. By employing rubberducking, the programmer is ‘debugging’ their mind, verbalising their thought process to gain a new perspective and highlight unnoticed patterns or errors. Similarly, hypnosis can help a person overcome fear or anxiety. Like the elusive coding problem, the root cause of the fear may not be immediately evident. Hypnosis enables people to navigate their subconscious, ‘debugging’ their fears, anxieties, and other cognitive patterns. The hypnotist’s suggestions work like ‘code patches,’ guiding the subconscious towards a solution or a new perspective.

The Power of Metacognition, the common thread

The common thread between rubberducking and hypnosis is metacognition – the process of thinking about thinking. Both techniques require an awareness of one’s own thought processes, albeit in different contexts. Rubberducking requires understanding the logic behind a coding problem, while hypnosis involves examining subconscious thought patterns. By voicing or visualising thoughts, subjects create a self-feedback loop. In rubberducking, programmers may catch flawed logic or syntax errors as they verbalise their code. During hypnosis, individuals might encounter forgotten memories or suppressed emotions that reveal the source of their issue. In both cases, the act of ‘listening’ to one’s thoughts and examining them objectively allows for problem resolution and self-growth.

Unlikely Cognitive Cousins

Rubberducking and hypnosis, despite belonging to seemingly different realms, are closely linked in the cognitive domain. Both techniques demonstrate the power of the human mind to resolve its conundrums, be they in the realm of coding or the subconscious mind. They illustrate the extraordinary capacity of metacognition and how externalising thoughts can lead to powerful and unanticipated insights. I love using the cognitive parallels between rubberducking and hypnosis in my clinic, encouraging my clients to adopt a more holistic approach to problem-solving and embrace their inherent ability to self-reflect and adapt. Whether they’re talking to a literal rubber duck or exploring their subconscious under hypnosis with me, the human duck, the key lies in trusting their mental faculties and understanding the power of their minds. After all, solutions most often reside within us, waiting to be discovered in our unique cognitive landscapes.
Hello, I Am Someone Who Can Help!

Problem-solving with award-winning therapy and a duck like me

COACHD CLINIC is an expert provider of Rapid Transformational Therapy™(RTT™) and Hypnotherapy services and offers a ground-breaking approach to supporting people who are struggling with their mental health. Using revolutionary new therapeutic techniques, I empower people to address the root cause of their thought patterns and behaviour and build a solid foundation for sustainable change. I recognise the importance of providing ongoing support and guidance throughout the journey to becoming the person you want to be. As an expert therapist and founder of COACHD CLINIC, I offer personalised therapy, coaching and counselling sessions, creating a safe space for my clients to progress, discuss challenges, and receive life-changing treatment and guidance. My approach to providing ongoing support significantly increases their potential for long-term success.

Why choose my Rapid Transformational Therapy™(RTT™) and Hypnotherapy service?

RTT™ is a complete solution-based treatment, offering fast effective results by combining the most effective principles of Hypnotherapy, Psychotherapy, NLP, CBT, and Neuroscience. Click this link to watch my short video on Rapid Transformational Therapy™ (RTT™). RTT™ helps people get to the root cause of their emotional, physical, or cognitive issues. When treating clients for issues, I believe it is crucial to help them change their way of thinking, and any unhelpful beliefs and behaviour, in order for them to increase their chances of success and achieve lasting change. COACHD hypnotherapy works with the subconscious mind, helping people deal with their past trauma and transforming any negative thoughts and beliefs into positive, empowering new ones. Using Rapid Transformational Therapy™(RTT™) and Hypnotherapy, my clients can transform their issues, allowing them to live the life they deserve. I believe my therapy is the most powerful and effective treatment available for people suffering from many of the issues and conditions that hold them back in their lives. Read more about Rapid Transformational Therapy™(RTT™).

You’d be quackers not to contact me today and let me help you fix your cognitive code!

As a skilled therapist, I can help you master your mind to put an end to your issues so that you can live the life you desire without the time, frustration, and cost of spending years on a therapist’s couch. Contact me today for dramatic life-changing results that will empower you to wellness, often in as little as 1 to 3 sessions. And I offer an unprecedented 100% MONEY BACK GUARANTEE on your treatment!
Joel Dickinson

Joel Dickinson



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