What is Hypnotherapy?
Hypnotherapy is a complementary medicine, known as a ‘talking therapy’, in which hypnosis is used to create a state of focused attention and increased suggestibility.
It is a very natural state of mind, one that we have all experienced countless times, and yet it’s so subtle, we barely even notice it. We experience hypnosis when we’re watching television and we are engrossed in the storyline; when we’re daydreaming, listening to music or driving. Have you ever arrived home and not remembered the journey? It is not mind control.
Research indicates that some 90-95% of our behaviour is driven by the subconscious mind while the remaining 5-10% is driven by the conscious mind. The subconscious works on instinct and generates habits based on response, repetition or learned behaviour rather than the decision-making process of the conscious mind. Our ‘fight, flight or freeze’ response comes from our subconscious when we encounter danger but the subconscious is unable to differentiate between a perceived threat or a real danger.
How does it work?
Your hypnotherapist will help you enter a state of deep relaxation, during which your subconscious mind becomes more open to positive, behaviour and/or thought changing suggestions.
In simple terms, it enables you to believe that, for example, you are no longer afraid of flying, or that you have the confidence to achieve your goal(s), or you can lose weight more easily etc. These behaviour-changing suggestions work with your subconscious to change your behaviour and/or thought patterns.
Naturally, it is essential that the changes intended are exactly what you want and this is discussed in detail between you and your hypnotherapist before any session of hypnosis takes place.
When you are in hypnosis you remain in control of your own thoughts and actions. In fact, the success of hypnotherapy depends on you being willing to make different choices from those you've made in the past, just as it is with any kind of therapy or counselling.
What does hypnosis feel like?
Just like anything in life we are all different so we all experience hypnosis differently and for some people it might feel different each time they experience it.
Going into a trance is a little bit like daydreaming. It’s just another state of consciousness, with the key point being that you will be conscious the whole time.
You’ll be aware of everything that’s happening – this is not sleep
Although you have your eyes closed you will still hear and sense what’s going on around you
Your breathing might slow down, your muscles might relax and sometimes people notice their bodies feel different such as lighter or heavier
Your imagination may appear very realistic: if asked to think about being in a particular place or time, you may feel as if you're actually there almost like you are dreaming.
You will never be out of control, under the spell of your hypnotherapist or do anything you don't want to do, this is not some hallucinogenic or mind control experience.
Most people find hypnotherapy and hypnosis a relaxing and enlightening way to treat their problems and find lasting change.
Dispelling the Myths
Issues about mind control or being made to do something you have not agreed to are very real concerns brought about by what people assume, have heard or have seen in stage shows.
Stage hypnotism is done for entertainment purposes and anyone who steps forward, volunteers to go along with what the Hypnotist suggests even if it is eating an onion as if it were an apple or barking like a dog. Stage Hypnotists choose their participants very carefully.
During Hypnotherapy we deal with important and sometimes challenging aspects of yourself that you want to change and it is you who will seek out a reputable Hypnotherapist that works with your agreement and co-operation to attain long-term improvements and/or lifetime transformations for you.
Your Hypnotherapist would never ask you to do anything that was against your ethical, moral or religious beliefs. Nor would they be able to as our 'Critical Faculty' (the mental ability to make sound judgments) would simply ignore the suggestion.
Is it Safe?
Yes, it is very safe if properly and responsibly used. Like anything else in life if used inappropriately it may cause problems. So here are a few things to think about and check before moving forward:
Hypnotherapy training is only subject to voluntary regulations, so the standard can be irregular. Check what training your therapist has had. Don't see anyone who only trained for a weekend or even a couple of months or who has only completed a distance learning course. Check if their course has Governing Body Accreditation such as GHSC, UKHC or ACCPH to name some.
Make sure your Hypnotherapist is a member of a recognised hypnotherapy body, like the General Hypnotherapy Register (GHR) or National Hypnotherapy Society (HS). If they have a medical background they may be a member of Royal Society of Medicine (RSM). Check online that they are with that governing body.
Being a member of a professional body, your therapist should undertake supervision and ongoing training (known as CPD). Ask them if they do this.
Don't choose a therapist by price or geography. Make sure they are right for you by meeting them in person or speaking on the phone or online before booking.
Check that your therapist's certificates and insurance documents are up to date and that their membership of any professional body is at Practitioner level as a minimum.
Make sure your therapist abides by a clearly stated code of ethics, and that there is a complaints procedure you can use if you feel the code has been breached. If they are registered with a governing body you can complain to this body.
You should not have hypnosis if you are under the influence of alcohol or 'recreational drugs'.
Can anyone be hypnotised?
The answer to this is yes, and no. There is no physical reason why anyone can’t be put into a hypnotic state, but there maybe psychological reasons that make it difficult for someone to relax enough to enter a hypnotic state. Some people think they can’t be hypnotised may have a deep-seated need for control and think that if they allow themselves to be hypnotised, they are giving up control so they will never allow themselves to relax enough to get to the hypnotic state. Working with a client by discussing all of their concerns and fears, by helping them to realise they are the one in control at all times, and by designing an induction tailored to the specific individual’s need may help this.
Can anyone use Hypnotherapy?
In the vast majority of cases the answer is yes, but only if you are using a suitably qualified and trained Hypnotherapist.
There are some health conditions which mean that your Hypnotherapist may not be able to treat you or that extra safeguards need to be in place before they do so. The best thing to do is be open and honest about your health and your Hypnotherapist will guide you through the process. To help they may not be able to work with you if:
you have epilepsy or experienced a significant head injury
you have a diagnosis of a psychotic illness
you have a diagnosis of dementia ie Alzheimer's
you have a recent history of hospitalisation for eating disorders
you have a recent history of suicidal thoughts or suicide attempts
you use or are addicted to 'hard' drugs
Care might also need to be taken if:
you are currently suffering from severe depression
you have a serious heart condition which is treated with medication
you have diabetes which is treated with medication
you are dependent on or addicted to alcohol
If you are pregnant and in the first trimester
If you're not sure if this applies to you, or you want more information about why these restrictions are in place, speak with your Hypnotherapist.
If you have any other questions please feel free to contact us.