What is hypnotherapy?
Hypnotherapy is a form of complementary therapy that utilises the power of positive suggestion to bring about subconscious change to our thoughts, feelings and behaviour.
Hypnotherapy aims to alter our state of consciousness in a way that relaxes the conscious part of our mind while simultaneously motivating and focusing the subconscious part. This heightened state of awareness – reached using skilled relaxation techniques – allows the therapist to then make appropriate suggestions. You sit comfortably reclined in an easy chair in a softly lit office. As you listen to with your eyes closed, you find your body relaxing more and more. Guided by the calm and confident voice, you allow your mind to let go and turn inward. As you relax, your awareness of where you are, why you are there, and who is speaking to you, recedes into the back of your mind. You just content yourself with effortlessly allowing the voice to act on you, and with enjoying this state of profound relaxation and deep calm… You are having a typical hypnotic experience.
What do most people use hypnotherapy for?
In my opinion, Hypnotherapy is mostly used for:
- Pain management
- Goal achievement
- Fears and phobias
- Stress & anxiety
- Unwanted behaviour patterns
- Coping with Bereavement
- Confidence in public speaking, attending an important interview or being calm through your driving test etc.
- Weight loss
Can I have therapy for other issues at the same time?
You can – if they are related issues, however because hypnosis requires a complete focus of attention it is far better to concentrate on one problem at a time. People wishing to stop smoking (for example) who are afraid of doing so in case they gain weight can be helped with the correct approach. This is because many of us experience ‘symptom substitution’ – we can substitute one addiction for another. Your therapist should have the skills to recognise if this is the case and deal with the issue at its core.
What really happens under hypnosis?
Hypnosis involves, more than anything else, changes in a person’s attention and concentration. The focus of attention is narrowed, and the things attended to are experienced more intensely than in the ordinary waking state. Hypnosis has therefore been likened to turning out the lights in a windowless room and looking around with a flashlight. What you focus on holds your entire attention under hypnosis, so you tend to experience whatever you think of, imagine or remember, more vividly and clearly than you ordinarily can. At the same time, things which are outside the narrow focus of enhanced attention at any given time may be forgotten. For this reason, people sometimes temporarily become disoriented under hypnosis: Their awareness of where they are, the reality of their life situation.
People typically experience both mental tranquillity and physical relaxation under hypnosis (relaxation is not a necessary condition for hypnosis, however; one can be both mentally and physically tense, and still be in a state of deep hypnosis). Various changes in perception are also common under hypnosis. Some people feel great heaviness coming over their bodies, others feel very light, numb or even disembodied. Subjective floating, sinking, spinning, and tingling sensations are often reported.
Other changes that accompany the hypnotic state, are the ones which make hypnosis a remarkable tool for mental and physical healing and make the various specialised hypnotic techniques possible. For example, hypnotic analgesia, the blocking of pain with the aid of hypnosis, depends on the mind´s ability to alter body perception in response to suggestion under hypnosis. Regression, where the person´s mind recreates past experiences in vivid detail as if the events are being relived, relies on the greatly facilitated access to remote memory. Finally, post hypnotic suggestions, which are suggestions given to people under hypnosis that affect them after they wake up, rely on the increased automatic receptivity to suggestions in the hypnotic state
What hypnosis can do for you?
There are many good reasons to seek the services of medical professionals or psychotherapists skilled in the use of hypnosis. In psychotherapy, hypnotic techniques are effective in speeding the process of therapy. Hypnosis is used effectively to facilitate patients’ understanding of themselves or their problems, extinguish unfortunate habits, uncover repressed or forgotten memories, reduce anxiety and fears, and develop a new and more adaptive outlook. In medicine and health psychology, hypnosis is used to effectively treat irritable bowel syndrome, reduce pain and discomfort associated with medical procedures such as childbirth, treatment of burns, and surgery where anaesthesia cannot be used effectively. It is also used to help with pain and psychosomatic problems and counter unhealthy habits that contribute to illness. In dentistry, hypnotic analgesia is an effective needle-less alternative to topical anaesthetic drugs, reduces bleeding and discomfort in oral surgery.
What can I expect?
Many people feel somewhat apprehensive and have numerous questions when they consider the possibility of seeking clinical hypnosis for their problems. The following are answers to some of the most common questions and concerns people voice about hypnosis:
How does it feel to be hypnotised?
There is really no such thing as a specific hypnotised feeling. As described earlier, a number of different experiences are commonly associated with the hypnotic state. The most unique characteristic, the one that people tend to remember best and find most surprising, is perhaps the subjective sense of “involuntariness” – of things happening without you (seemingly) acting to make them happen.
Will I lose consciousness?
As mentioned above, hypnosis is not sleep. Ordinarily, you will be conscious of everything that goes on when you are in the hypnotic state. Sometimes, though, you may relax so much under hypnosis that you may drift off and lose track of what is happening, – or even fall asleep !
Do some people get “stuck in a trance”?
No. You are only in a state of very deep relaxation and you can leave that state whenever you want to. It is impossible to get “stuck”. All hypnotic state ends, whether formally ended by the Hypnotherapist or naturally by yourself
Will I lose all control, or reveal personal secrets?
No, you won’t say or do anything that you don’t want to. While hypnosis can be used for personal benefit, it cannot cause you to say or do anything against your free will or ethics.
Therapeutic hypnosis is specifically used to improve your health and well-being and is different from stage hypnosis that is used for entertainment purposes only. You will not start clucking like a chicken or break out in a Michael Jackson dance. If you were given suggestions that you don’t morally agree with, you would come out of hypnosis and your mind would mentally block those suggestions. Hypnosis is not a control state, it is an agreeable state for the mind and body to shift its perspective in life.
Will I remember everything afterwards?
Most people do remember either everything or certain parts of the experience, depending on how deep your mind goes. You will find that suggestions which have been given to you in hypnosis will resurface in your conscious, thinking mind after your session and these will be the thoughts that produce positive changes in your behaviour or way of thinking and feeling
Are there any negative side effects?
There are no negative side effects. Most people find the experience to be extremely positive, beneficial and empowering. Hypnosis is considered safe no matter what your condition. I always ensure that you and are in a positive, relaxed and motivated state at the end of each session.
Are simple people most easily hypnotisable?
Not at all. In fact, researchers have found that more intelligent people are slightly more hypnotisable. It seems that openness to new experiences, rather than gullibility, is related to hypnotic ability.
I can’t be hypnotised?
I have previous had hypnotherapy but it didn’t work, does this mean i cannot be hypnotised?
Hypnosis is a natural state that we have access to all day long. When you drive down the road and miss a turn or get lost in a movie or your favourite song, those are all states of hypnosis. The most common reason for failure to induce trance is lack of rapport and explanation of the state, or a hypnotherapist without professional training who is using incomplete methods.
How many sessions will I need?
Hypnotherapy is basically short-term therapy. Some clients see results in just one session. I generally recommend a minimum of three sessions – that allows us to build up results using several different techniques. Depending on the issue, I may also give you hypnotic recordings for at home listening to reinforce the changes. You can expect to see progress after 3-5 sessions on most issues. Generally speaking, I don’t see people for more than 5 sessions for a single issue.