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Hypnotherapy Demystified

Hypnotherapy Demystified

What is hypnosis and hypnotherapy?

To explain what hypnosis is, let us first explain what it’s not.  There is nothing mystical or magical about hypnosis, it’s not a magic wand, it doesn’t involve mind control and you won’t be clucking like a chicken (unless you specifically want to!).  Therapeutic hypnosis has nothing to do with stage hypnosis, which is designed purely for entertainment purposes.

Hypnotherapy involves therapeutic hypnosis. It is a focussed state of attention, which is described by many as extremely relaxed and trance-like.  In this relaxed state of awareness, the Hypnotherapist makes suggestions to the client that can be experienced as changes in sensations, perceptions, thoughts or behaviour.

What can hypnosis be used for?

It can be used to help you access or develop powerful personal resources that can be directed towards achieving your goals.  For example:

  • Becoming more confident
  • Feeling more relaxed and calm
  • Anger management
  • Learning how to be assertive
  • Managing stress and anxiety
  • Overcoming fears and phobias
  • Weight management
  • Addictions
  • Self Esteem and Self confidence
  • Quit Smoking

In fact, hypnotherapy can be used to resolve any issues that may be having a negative impact on your life.

Is there evidence to support hypnotherapy?

There is a body of clinical evidence that supports hypnosis when conducted by a qualified, skilled, professional therapist.

For example, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recommends it for certain conditions.

How many sessions are needed?

Hypnotherapy is often considered to be a brief therapy, and can resolve many issues in as little as 1 or 2 sessions, however usually we are looking at between 4-6 sessions for most issues.  At Alternatives, we adopt a solution-focussed approach to therapy, which includes developing a positive mindset, and a belief that you already have the answers within you.

The Therapeutic Relationship

For it to work effectively, the client and the therapist form a therapeutic relationship.  This means we work together; we have an open and honest dialog; we feel comfortable with each other and we work towards a specific outcome or goal.

Hypnotherapy is a collaborative process that includes carefully crafted suggestions that work in harmony with the goal of therapy.  Each experience is unique as it is tailor-made to suit the individual.  A good hypnotherapist does not adhere to the “one-size-fits-all” approach and will form a treatment plan in accordance with the client’s needs and the issue presented, encouraging a flexible open mind and a positive orientation.

What happens during a session?

During a session, our therapist will discuss the issue and the goal of therapy, and teach you how to enter hypnosis and use whichever method(s) she thinks will bring about the greatest benefit to you.

She may use a combination of methods, depending on your needs and the issue involved.  An integrated approach might include one or more methods in which our hypnotherapist is trained and qualified:

  • Talking therapy
  • NLP (NeuroLinguistic Programming)
  • CBH (Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy
  • Hypno-analysis
  • Suggestion Therapy
  • Mindfulness
  • Regression or Time-Line Therapy
  • Inner Child work
  • Energy healing
  • Personality Integration

Hypnosis is a powerful and flexible tool that can be used to enhance any method of therapy.

Mind Body Connection

Hypnosis accesses a powerful connection between the conscious mind and what we call the “unconscious” mind.  It’s like a bridge that integrates two different parts of the brain so they can work together effectively.  The mind can then influence the body to make subtle changes in experience, bringing about positive, lasting change.  Any suggestion can be accepted or rejected by the client so you remain in control of your experience at all times.

What are the benefits of hypnotherapy?

Hypnotherapy not only helps with issues like stress, anxiety, weight management and giving up smoking, it can also alleviate pain and the symptoms of IBS; bring about emotional and physical wellbeing; remove energetic blockages; stop self-sabotage and create an empowering vision of the future.

What is a trance like?

In a hypnotic trance, a person becomes more receptive to suggestions, especially ones that are aligned to what they really want.  A trance is a natural state that we all enter many times a day, for example when deeply engrossed in a good book, or watching a gripping movie, or when we drive home and forget the last 10 miles of the journey – the conscious mind is busy focussing on something and the unconscious mind takes over. At some point we become aware that we have “drifted off” or we might not hear someone who is talking to us.

You can enter a light, medium or deep trance. In a light trance you may be aware of the sounds in the room and the sounds of the hypnotherapist’s voice – this is normal.  In a deep trance you may be so relaxed that it might feel like you are asleep and you may not remember everything that happens.  It’s a bit like zoning out, drifting off, or day-dreaming.  However, you will usually be able to focus on the suggestions, either consciously or unconsciously.

Most people report a deeply relaxed state that they would like to stay longer in.  We also use uptime alert hypnosis, which means your eyes will be open. Every experience is unique.

Self Hypnosis

During a session, you can learn how to use self-hypnosis to bring about positive change, using auto-suggestion and mental rehearsal.  This is a method of combining suggestion with visualisation and activating it with positive emotion.  It can help you to prepare for a difficult situation such as going for an interview.  You can also use self-hypnosis to reduce physical pain.  Hypnosis switches off the stress hormones and many people like to use self-hypnosis to relax and rebalance after a hard day.

Can I get stuck in hypnosis?

No, no one has ever got stuck in hypnosis. What happens towards the end of the session is the therapist will prepare and guide you back to full conscious awareness. During the session, you are always in control and you can bring yourself up and out of trance whenever you want to, however most people want to stay there longer.

What is involved in a course of hypnotherapy?

It starts with a chat over the phone or in person, to see how hypnotherapy can help you.  Then we book the initial consultation.  This will include a full history of the issue and you will have a chance to talk about anything on your mind: your hopes and fears, your dreams and wishes for the future. This discussion helps us to identify your therapeutic goals and form a plan to get you from stuck to unstuck.

Each session builds upon the last one and you will usually be given tasks that will enhance the work we do.  This might involve practicing a hypnotic technique, learning how to relax in a certain way, or listening to a hypnosis audio.

Sometimes, for certain medical conditions, it may be necessary to obtain the approval of your GP, or we may need to inform them of a plan of action.

Will I divulge all my secrets when I am in hypnosis?

No, you will only tell the hypnotherapist what you want to tell them. You are in control all the time.

How do I choose a Hypnotherapist?

Firstly, be aware that there are people who practice hypnosis without qualifications and without insurance. Choose a hypnotherapist who is registered with a professional body, well qualified and insured, and find someone you can talk to easily and feel comfortable with.

Acupuncture FAQ

Acupuncture FAQ

As one of the longest standing acupuncture providers in Milton Keynes, we get a lot of questions about it. Here are our answers to the most common.

Does it hurt?

You’ll be pleased to know that acupuncture very rarely hurts when administered by a professional. Usually, the sensation is no more than a dull ache or a tingling. Treatment at the extremities, such as your finger tips, can be a little sharp because these areas are so sensitive. Nonetheless, this sharp sensation is brief for most people.

Rarely, acupuncture might be painful for a few reasons. It might be that a needle has irritated a nerve, but this is very rare as modern techniques use guides that stop the needles penetrating further than intended. It might also be because of an inadequately trained practitioner, but this will not be an issue at Alternatives Clinic. All of our acupuncturists are fully qualified and insured, and our clinic has offered acupuncture since we started in the year 2000. A minority of people are extremely sensitive to the procedure, and we advise them to seek other types of treatment.

If at any point in your acupuncture session, you are not completely comfortable, do not hesitate to let us know.

Is it safe?

With a skilled practitioner, acupuncture is very safe. This has been backed up by many studies, including a high quality, peer reviewed paper published in the British Medical Journal.

What are the side effects?

Acupuncture has minimal side effects. The complications found in the paper noted above were “rare and transient”. The most common complications were fainting and bruising, and the rates of these were “remarkably low”.


Many people use acupuncture for a diverse range of medical conditions. Clinical trials have found it to be effective in providing temporary relief from a wide range of conditions:

  • Overactive bladder
  • Tensions headache
  • Migraine headache
  • Chronic lower back pain
  • Neck pain or chronic neck pain
  • Temporomandibular (TMD or TMJ) pain
  • Osteoarthritis knee pain

Additionally, many people regularly receive acupuncture for a wide range of problems. Many studies exist that show it is effective against a large variety of conditions, however there are also studies that don’t. As with almost any alternative medicine, more research is required to definitively prove, or disprove, its efficacy. That said, it is an active area of research, and studies are currently looking into:

  • Helping with stress and anxiety
  • Regulating the menstrual cycle
  • Improving sperm health

For the latest research, we recommend the British Acupuncture Society “Research Fact Sheet“. That’s because it’s an excellent resource that consolidates research about acupuncture for a wide range of conditions.

When do I start feeling the benefits?

The timeframe depends heavily on your condition, so we can’t predict it exactly. This is why the best person to ask is your practitioner. They can give you an estimate, based on their experience of treating the same condition before.

The frequency of sessions also depends on the condition. For example, we might recommend more frequent sessions for more severe pain. If you would like to know more details about what to expect for the particular problem you are experiencing, then please get in touch. We strive to reply to most queries within 24 hours.


We offer transparent prices for our range of acupuncture treatments.

A 45-minute assessment session costs £45.

A 30-minute follow-up session for treatment costs £30.

The place to go for Acupuncture in Milton Keynes

If you would like to book a session, please visit our acupuncture page.